How much do air conditioners warm up cities?

Anyone who has passed near to an air conditioner in summer and has felft the warm air expelled outside, has probably asked himself: “How much heat is this? What is the air conditioners effect in the city?

A researcher at the Center for Energy and Environmental Research (CIEMAT), who has made a doctoral thesis financed by the Ministry of Environment, gives the answer: for a city like Madrid, the air conditioners can raise the temperature in summer between 1.5 and 2 degrees celcius in some areas.

Alberto Martilli, director of the thesis by Francisco Salamanca, said: “the message is that the air conditioner could have a significant impact on the urban temperature. The study has some uncertainties and measures must be taken with caution. But the most important conclusion is scientists have detected an impact on temperatures.

But the temperature rise doesn’t happened during the hottest hours of the day, rather in the afternoon as it is during these hours when more air conditioner devices are connected.

Researchers highlight the feedback that occurs in this situation: As it is warmer, more air conditioners are installed which in turn emit more hot air outside.

Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Switzerland) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have collaborated in the study. Martilli notes that in Houston (Texas, USA) a similar study was made with similar results to the study in Madrid.

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