Air conditioning market saturation and long-term response of residential cooling energy demand to climate change

D. J. Sailor, A. A. Pavlova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Existing state-level models relating climate parameters to residential electricity consumption indicate a nominal sensitivity of 2-4% for each degree Celsius increase in ambient temperatures. Long-term climate change will also impact electricity consumption through corresponding increases in the market saturation of air conditioning. In this paper we use air conditioning market saturation data for 39 US cities to develop a generalized functional relationship between market saturation and cooling degree days. The slope of this saturation curve is particularly high for cities that currently have low to moderate saturation. As a result, the total response of per capita electricity consumption to long-term warming may be much higher than previously thought. A detailed analysis of 12 cities in four states shows that for some cities changes in market saturation may be two to three times more important than the role of weather sensitivity of current loads. While actual behavioral response to climate change will be more complicated than that captured in our model of market saturation, this approach provides a new perspective on the sensitivity of space conditioning electricity consumption in the US to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-951
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Energy
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Air conditioning market saturation and long-term response of residential cooling energy demand to climate change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this