AC units are becoming increasingly common in B.C. homes. (Photo by STEVE MAXWELL)

AC units are becoming increasingly common in B.C. homes. (Photo by STEVE MAXWELL)

More British Columbians turning to AC units to escape summer heat

BC Hydro statistics show nearly 40 per cent of British Columbians have AC at home

A new report from BC Hydro shows that climate change is driving up summertime power demand as more people purchase air conditioners.

BC Hydro statistics show nearly 40 per cent of British Columbians have AC at home and 62 per cent of those who have it are using it more often to combat high temperatures.

“Almost all British Columbians who had an AC in their home last summer had their AC on for more than three hours per day, with 63 per cent leaving it on for five hours or more,” BC Hydro said.

READ MORE: Arctic outflow leads to new record for peak electricity demand: BC Hydro

Last summer’s unprecedented heat saw BC Hydro experience 19 of its top 25 all-time summer daily peak records, including breaking its all-time summer peak hourly demand record—the time-of-day British Columbians use the most power—on June 28, when demand reached 8,568 megawatts. That exceeded the previous record by more than 600 megawatts — the equivalent of turning on 600,000 portable air conditioners.

The trend of higher energy use through the summer months is expected to continue. BC Hydro says its systems are prepared to meet the increase in demand.

Installing systems like central heat pumps can help save on energy consumption. If that’s not tenable, BC Hydro recommends using EnergyStar-approved AC units — particularly window units as they use less power than portable AC. Homes should be cooled to around 25 degrees celsius in the summer.

For the majority of British Columbians without AC, BC Hydro recommends closing blinds and drapes to stay cool and running fans.

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