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A global degree days database for energy-related applications

Atalla, Tarek, Gualdi, Silvio, Lanza, Alessandro
Energy 2017
climatic factors, cold, cooling, databases, econometrics, energy efficiency, heat sums, humidity, issues and policy, temperature
Weather can have a profound effect on energy consumption particularly with respect to hot and cold temperatures, driving residential and commercial energy demand. The cooling and heating degree day methodology has been often been regarded as a reliable means to account for this effect for purposes of normalization and econometric analysis. However, when applied within the context of international cross-country comparison, this methodology suffers from two majors limitations: the lack of an appropriate international database that encompasses degree days at a functional spatial and temporal aggregation using various reference temperatures, and second, the existing methodologies only account for the effect of temperature and ignore the potential effect of other climatic factors such as humidity and solar radiation.This paper addresses these issues by presenting a new database of population-weighted degree days for 147 countries for 1948–2013 at various reference temperatures based on multiple thermal comfort indices. The database was mainly developed to compare the influence of weather on energy use across countries. This is important for policy because it defines the playing field for potential intervention to improve energy efficiency and productivity. It also puts countries on equal footing when it comes to participating in international energy and environmental negotiations.