How global warming increases energy demand

How a warmer climate increases the demand for energy


Global warming and climate change are on the tip of everyone’s tongue. It creeps into our everyday conversations, as well as through the context of legislation at governing level, all over the world. 

It’s become so impactful, that our warming climate is prompting us to change our behavior and adapt in new ways. One way we’re having to adjust is by keeping ourselves cool to reduce cases of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke or dehydration. This is a particularly big concern for businesses that need to keep their workers safe by ensuring employees are working in sufficient conditions. Unsurprisingly, this comes at a cost.

Here’s how our warming climate is causing us to use more energy – something that is only set to increase in the future.

The warming planet

Scientists have linked our warming planet with human activity, with clear evidence to back this up. The Met Office confirmed that 2022 has been the hottest year in the UK on record, with no signs of extreme temperatures like those experienced during the summertime stopping in the near future. The tendency is for extreme weather like this to come in heat waves, where a particular period experiences higher temperatures than normal. As a result, we end up seeking ways to stay cool both at home and in the workplace.

How a hotter climate requires more energy 

Although we associate increased energy usage with staying warm during the winter months, hot weather can be similarly demanding. With record-breaking temperatures being reached, it’s no wonder the population is having to use more energy to maintain cooler and ultimately, safer, temperatures. 

In countries like the US, it’s common for warm weather in the summertime to peak electricity demand so that people can stay cool, so as the UK experiences similar patterns, this may need to be addressed. On top of this, energy is linked to water systems, as well as hydropower systems. Water cooling during warmer periods requires a significant amount of energy – and at an industrial scale, this can be substantial. 

What this means for UK businesses

Workplaces and even homeowners are turning to appliances like electric fans or more powerful cooling systems, such as air conditioning units, to prevent conditions from becoming unbearable during heatwaves. 

Investments like these are only going to become more necessary as the climate warms. But with this inevitably comes more energy usage and related costs to keep the workplace and customers safe. Some buildings are more susceptible to becoming overheated, so workplaces need to review their approach ahead of intense periods of hot weather. There should also be increased awareness and education on how to spot and limit the impacts of heat-related illnesses, from heat exhaustion to heat stroke.