How has space cooling evolved in Brazil?

How has space cooling evolved in Brazil?

Space cooling is an essential factor for well-being in hot spots locations like Brazil, where summer temperatures can achieve 40oC. But despite its warm climate, less than 10% of Brazilian households actually have air conditioning in their home, according to our analysis of microdata from a Brazilian household survey. This is still higher than Indonesian households, another Energy-a case study analysed by our country experts , but still surprising considering the climate of the country.

When we analyze the distribution of air conditioning ownership according to different income groups, it becomes evident that this low percentage is related to equipment affordability. Among Brazil’s richest (group 5 in the figure below) ownership is 25.4%, but falls to only 0.9% for the poorest households (group 1).

Air conditioners and fans ownership according to income quintiles in the Brazilian household sector – (2008-2009) – Exchange rate US$ 1.00 = R$ 3.7787 in July 2019

On the other hand, the distributional ownership of fans between income groups is much more stable. While more than half of households in Brazil have fans, the difference between rich and poor is not as significant as with AC. This can be justified by a low initial cost and ease of installation and use.

In the 21st century, tropical nations like Brazil are gaining wealth – despite some setbacks in recent years* – and more people will be able to afford air conditioners in the near future. Since 2005, ownership rate of ACs in Brazil have improved of about 9.0% yearly. Moreover, usage is expected to further increase due to rising temperatures. According to Brazilian Energy Research Company (EPE), in 2014 and 2015, air conditioning sales increase were associated with heat waves observed in some Brazilian municipalities.

Future space cooling demand is therefore expected to play a significant role when it comes to GHG emissions in Brazil. It is therefore fundamental to understand energy choices from the past – analyzing historical data on energy use – to be able to develop reliable future scenarios of climate-induced energy demand.

*According to IBGE (2018), the number of families living under the poverty line (US$ 5,5 PPC 2011) raised from 25.7% in 2016 to 26.5% in 2017. This means that almost 2 million people went back to poverty conditions, adding up to 54,8 million.

*Picture by Gaia Squarci – All rights reserved