There are so many reasons to be grateful if you live in a place like Vancouver, Kelowna or anywhere else in BC’s lower mainland. While the rest of Canada is known for its freezing cold winters and startlingly hot summers in some areas, Southern British Columbia enjoys a very moderate climate by comparison. Our winters aren’t typically too cold, and for the most part our summers never get too hot. Recent studies focused on average temperatures in cities around the world find Vancouver residents definitely require heat in the winter. But with temperatures only reaching a daily average of 22.2C in the hottest summer month, the need for air conditioning isn’t absolutely vital for residents of Vancouver and other communities in the lower mainland. As a result, you may find that most residences throughout BC are not equipped with any type of air conditioning unit. With temperatures on the rise, however, more and more people are looking to have some type of A/C installed where they live.
Thanks to our close proximity to the coast, and prevailing wind patterns that blow cool ocean air towards Vancouver and further inland, hot temperatures haven’t historically been an issue in the lower mainland. Air conditioners of any type were therefore viewed as an unnecessary luxury, and most residents weren’t concerned about living in a house, apartment, or condo that didn’t have any kind of cooling system. As the effects of climate change start to spread around the globe however, there is a noticeable shift in BC resident’s attitude towards having air conditioners in their homes. Climate experts, meteorologists and officials at BC Hydro have all noted a steady rise in both temperatures and energy consumption during the summer months over the last fifteen years. According to president and CEO of BC Hydro, Chris O’Riley, “Record heat and long stretches of dry weather are becoming the new norm in the province, and BC Hydro’s meteorologists are predicting another hot summer this year.” By 2050, it is predicted that average temperatures across the province will increase as much as 2.7 degrees. It may not seem like much over time, but the annual temperature increases we’ve seen over the past years has already lead to record-breaking power consumption in the summer, which we can attribute to higher usage of air conditioners.
Keeping Cool Without A/C
Despite the growing trend of higher temperatures, less precipitation in summer, and an increase in demand for air conditioners, plenty of people living throughout BC still avoid using A/C to keep cool. While cities like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal often see summer temperatures consistently rise over 30C, the same still isn’t true for cities in BC like Victoria and Vancouver. Many residents find it just isn’t worth it to have A/C installed if there are only a handful of hot days to look forward to each summer. Keeping fans blowing and blinds drawn when the sun is at its hottest can still be effective ways to keep cool. The lack of humidity in BC compared to other hot North American cities makes a world of difference as well. Lower humidity means heat waves and high nightly temperatures that make it hard to sleep are few and far between, making it easier to circulate cool air inside using only fans instead of costly A/C units. The demand for A/C may be on the rise here, but the majority of BC residents are still getting by in the summer without it.
With temperatures on the rise, there may come a time when you decide an air conditioner is worth it.