Understand how extreme heat can impact a property based on a building’s unique characteristics.
With Risk Factor Pro you unlock access to a variety of interactive maps to help better understand a property’s risk. These interactive maps can be used to identify urban heat islands and understand the impact they have on local temperatures.
You have the ability to view the estimated damages a property may face from extreme heat such as the estimated cooling costs associated with rising heat, carbon emissions, and more. You can also adjust your home’s characteristics to see how your home’s risk is affected by building material, number of stories, structure size and more.
In the US the average temperature has increased by 1.2°F over the last 30 years, causing an increase in both the intensity and frequency of hot days and, as a result, the frequency of heat waves and heat advisories. This warming trend is expected to increase with conservative estimates projecting temperatures will rise by a minimum of 2.5°F over the next 30 years. However, increasing average temperatures will not result in proportionately hotter days across the U.S. How high average temperatures increase is influenced by local factors such as an area's landscape, vegetation, elevation, urbanization, and distance to water bodies and coastlines.
Temperature is typically communicated through comparisons to local experiences and norms. Because temperature is not often thought of on a property-by-property basis, Risk Factor uses Local Hot Days to understand how rising temperatures will uniquely affect different areas of the country. The model identifies the temperature on the hottest 7 days in a given area to define what someone in that specific area would reasonably call a “hot day.” The term “hot day” is used to represent local heat index temperatures. The RCP4.5 carbon emissions scenario is used to predict the number of consecutive hot days 30 years from now. This allows individuals to understand how changing environmental factors will uniquely affect the felt experience of heat in their area based on a property’s surroundings.
Days above optimum indoor temperature
Understanding how extremely hot days are projected to increase into the future can help communities and individuals better prepare for seasonal energy use changes. As temperatures increase, additional cooling measures may become necessary to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Taking into account the impact of climate change on average high temperatures and increased humidity, the Extreme Heat Model estimates the number of days when the temperature is above 70°F. A “cooling temp” is defined as any day over 70 degrees. When the temperature outside is warmer than 70°F air conditioning is recommended to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. The number of days above 70°F is estimated for this year, 15 years from now and 30 years from now to show the impact rising temperatures have on a home’s air conditioning usage and the energy costs associated with this increased use.
Cooling Costs and Energy Use
The amount of energy required to cool a home depends on the number of cooling days estimated for a property and the degrees of cooling required to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. The warmer the temperature outside the greater degrees of cooling required.
The cost to cool a home depends on the temperature outdoors and specific property characteristics such as the age of the home, and square footage. The price each household will pay for electricity varies depending on where the local grid is supplied, the companies that supply an area, and number of homes. Using data on energy rates from Energy Information Administration (EIA), a property’s yearly energy consumption is translated into cost based on energy rates in that area. Learn more.
Average cooling degree days
Estimated number of days each year when air conditioning would be recommended to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Estimated yearly cooling days refer to the number of days in a given year when the temperature is warmer than 70°F and therefore requires the use of air conditioning to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Please note, the number of cooling days on Risk Factor only considers air conditioning, not other cooling devices such as fans.
Annual cooling costs
The price each household will pay for electricity varies depending on where the local grid is supplied, the companies that supply an area, and number of homes. Using data on energy rates from Energy Information Administration (EIA), a property’s yearly energy consumption is translated into cost based on energy rates in that area.
Estimated A/C energy consumption (kWh)
The estimated amount of energy required to cool a home in a given year. The amount of energy required to cool a home depends on the number of cooling days, the degrees of cooling required, and specific property characteristics.
The degrees of cooling is the difference between the daily average temperature and 70°F. For example, if the temperature outside a home was 85 °F, 15 degrees of cooling would be required for that home to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. The square footage of a home and year it was built affect its expected AC usage and efficiency as larger homes are more expensive to cool while newer homes are more energy efficient. The latitude, number of cooling degree days, and the degrees of cooling required to maintain a consistent indoor temperature provide information on the location of the home and its annual temperature ranges.
Energy Use Damages
A property’s annual electricity consumption is used to understand how increased air conditioning usage will affect its Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, CO2 emissions vary based on the energy mix of a state. Energy mix refers to the primary energy sources a state uses to supply its energy grid. For example, a property located in a state who uses renewable energy to supply its energy grid may have a smaller carbon footprint than a property located in a state whose primary energy source was coal.
Data from the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) State Electricity Profile is used to outline electricity generation and consumption for each state in the United States. These statistics include the prices for fuel used for electric power, electricity production by source, usage, retail sales and emissions.
Using data from the EIA’s State Electricity Profile, a property’s annual electricity consumption is converted into pounds (lbs) of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. This conversion allows individuals to understand how emissions related to air conditioning usage will change if all else is held constant.
How to interpret the interactive Heat Maps
Heat Factor - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)