Why don’t houses in the UK have air conditioning?

LONDON – Temperatures of up to 100 degrees are hard to bear anywhere, but it’s especially dangerous in the UK, where very few homes are equipped with air conditioning.

There is little data on the number of homes in the UK with air conditioning installed, but best estimates place it at less than 5% of homes, according to report for 2021 from the UK Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Most of the air conditioning in use comes from mobile devices, with central air conditioning rarely found outside some luxury London apartments.

While the handful of days in each summer are often uncomfortable, many Britons will say there simply aren’t enough tough days and nights in the typically mild climates for air conditioning to be an investment. worthy. Many people also consider it unnecessary and harmful to the environmentwith a fan pointed at the bed which is considered fine for only a few nights per year.

And homes in the UK are not designed for sweltering summers.

“We are a heating country, not a cooling country,” said Tadj Oreszczyn, a professor of energy and the environment at the University College London Energy Institute.

“We haven’t historically designed our homes to deal with overheating,” he added. We designed them to keep ourselves warm. “

In some older buildings, pipes running through hot water supply corridors may not be properly insulated, he said, so running hot water for showering can cause heat to spread throughout the apartment. . That’s fine when trying to get through a cold winter, but exacerbates problems during a heatwave.

Air conditioning is more common outside the home. According to a government report, around half of cooling demand in the UK comes from offices, followed by retail outlets and hospitals.

But there has been a small increase in demand in recent years for cooling systems in residential areas, driven in part by the growing use of home offices during the coronavirus pandemic, the report said. report shows. And officials are bracing for a future in which rising temperatures, driven by climate change, could create more demand for cooling systems that use more energy and can resist The UK’s goal is to reduce net greenhouse gas production to zero by 2050.

“Following the shift in working practices from Covid-19, it is expected that there will be a long-term trend of people working from home some or all of the time, and this is likely to sustain the market. increased field for the cooling system,” the report said.

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