September 8, 2009

Population migration cuts energy use

A University of Michigan study shows a population shift to the warmer and more moderate climates of the U.S. west and southwest has reduced energy demand.

The study, led by research Professor Michael Sivak, found the average individual energy demand for heating and cooling has decreased by 11 percent per person since 1960.

The relative increases in population in more moderate climates and, at the same time, in warmer climates, imply a reduction in the combined energy per person -- the shift to more moderate climates because of narrower ranges between winter and summer temperatures, and the shift to warmer climates because it is more energy-efficient to cool than to heat, Sivak said.

The study is reported in the journal Cities.