Here a Degree, There a Degree...
Heating and Cooling Variances Affect Your Energy Bills

Nebraska, Heating and Cooling degrees map
Nebraska Heating and Cooling Degree Days Locator Map
In the number-numb, glassy-eyed world of energy statistics, sits a helpful tool to help you answer the question:  Is it really colder than last year? Is this normal weather we’re having? This helpful database series is called degree days.

But what are degree days?
Degree days are used to estimate fuel consumption and to pinpoint the nominal annual heating and cooling loads of a building. A degree day is a 1 degree Fahrenheit
Hot Today Cool Tomorrow North Central U.S. Energy Map
© 2004, U.S. Energy Information Administration

This map links to the U.S. Energy Information Administration Residential Energy Map for the Midwestern region. You may find a wealth of information on heating and cooling degree days for Nebraska and surrounding states. Data includes actual weather normals. You may use this map to look for heating and cooling trends and compare them to surrounding states. Find how much energy you are using compared to your neighbor's energy use. Energy consumption and variations in heating and cooling days help give you a better idea of how weather affects your energy use and affects the prices you pay for energy.

Click on the map to visit the Energy Information Administration web site and find your heating and cooing degree days normals and annual weather normals. This map also includes information on state population, households per square mile, amount of energy used per household and what type of energy or fuel they used most.

For Nebraska specific information on heating and cooling degree days and all their permutations, use these links below:

Degree Day Normals | Heating Degree Days | Cooling Degree Days |
Map | Selected Cities in Nebraska |
difference between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the average outdoor air temperature on a given day. The more extreme the temperature, the higher the number of degree days. Degree day measurements can be used to describe the effect of outdoor temperature on the amount of energy needed for space heating or cooling. Hot days, which could require the use of energy for cooling, are measured in cooling degree days. On a day with an average temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 cooling degree days would be recorded. Cold days are measured in heating degree days. For a day with an average temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 heating degree days would be recorded. Two such cold days would result in a total of 40 heating degree days for the two-day period.

What’s Normal?
By studying degree day patterns in an area, the increases or decreases in heating or air conditioning bills can be evaluated from year to year. The Energy Office maintains degree days and degree day normals — 30 year averages — for twelve cities around the state in addition to the state's degree days.

By studying the locator map, (above) find the city to which you are closest and use that city's degree days. Degree day information may also be published in a local newspaper, usually in the weather section. Information could be available from a local utility. Its public relations department may be able to provide the number of degree days in the last billing period and how it compares to the number of degree days in previous billing periods.

A Little Heat, A Little Cold
Nebraska's heating degree day normal for a year is 6525 and cooling degree day normal for a year is 1008. In a year with normal weather, Nebraskans will heat their homes and businesses 6525 degree days and cool their homes and businesses 1008 degree days. In comparison, Hawaii (a hot weather state) has 20 heating degree days and 3002 cooling degree days, and Colorado (a cold weather state) has 7410 heating degree days and 273 cooling degree days.

In the 2002/2003 season, Nebraska's heating degree days totaled 6419 or 105 degree days less than the degree day normal. This indicates Nebraska's winter was 2 percent warmer than normal. In 2002, Nebraska's cooling degree days totaled 1231 or 223 degree days more than the degree day normal. This indicates Nebraska's summer was 22 percent warmer than normal.

Hot Spot, Cold Spot
According to degree day data gathered over a thirty year period, the city with the most cooling degree days, among the 12 towns surveyed, is Pawnee City. The leader in heating degree days is Valentine.

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