Dr. Michael Sivak, a scientist at the University of Michigan, estimated the difference in energy demand based on three key parameters- heating or cooling, heating and cooling efficiency of appliances, and efficiency of power plants, in two metropolitan areas in the US- Minneapolis and Miami. He established that the colder country, Minneapolis, consumes three and a half times more energy.
Although it has always been assumed that it is more sustainable to live in warmer cities, the study provides real estimates.
To quantify his findings, Sivak used the standard climatological measures ‘heating degree days’- HDDs, and ‘cooling degree days’- CDDs, which reflect the demand for energy needs. He also compared the efficiency of appliances, by using the measure of efficiency of heating.
Slavak also showed that to cool a room using an air-conditioning system is much less energy demanding than to heat a room using a furnace.
He sates that in the U.S., much attention is paid on energy consumption for cooling, while heating is somehow overlooked. He suggests that the main focus should be placed on heating instead, as his study proves that cold areas are less sustainable and more energy demanding.