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Extreme heatwaves prompt Europe to purchase air conditioners

Extreme heatwaves prompt Europe to purchase air conditioners

Posted August. 04, 2023 07:59,   

Updated August. 04, 2023 07:59


Heatwaves hovering around 40 degrees in Europe are boosting sales of air conditioners, a product that many Europeans either don't have or rarely use in the summer. According to The Associated Press on Wednesday, several years of unusually high temperatures have transformed air conditioning from a luxury to a necessity in many parts of Europe.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the European air conditioning penetration rate increased from 10% in 2000 to 19% last year and is expected to increase further this year. While it's hard to compare to the U.S., where the air conditioning penetration rate is 91%, Europe is clearly showing a rise in air conditioner adoption. According to Amazon Business, sales of portable air conditioners in Spain, Italy, and France this month were up more than 20 percent compared to the previous month.

Sales of air conditioners in a recent week doubled from the same period last year, according to Unieuro, a home appliance company with more than 450 stores across Italy, Reuters reported. Even in France, where most houses and apartments are not equipped with air conditioning, 1 million units were sold last year. A team of researchers from Italy's Ca' Foscari University predicted that the Spanish household air conditioning penetration rate will reach 50% by 2040, up from 5% in 1990.

Due to the cooler climate, even in the summer, restaurants, and movie theaters in Western European countries are less likely to turn on air conditioning. In addition, electricity prices are higher than in the U.S., and many people take long vacations in the summer, reducing the demand for air conditioning. European countries including Spain have traditionally beaten the heat by organizing breaks like siestas (naps) during the hottest hours. However, this summer's worst heatwave has shown that this is not effective at the moment.

However, there are still some people who are reluctant to use air conditioners because they are regarded as U.S. imports, and they are concerned about environmental damage due to increased greenhouse gas emissions.