WASHINGTON — Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau publishes information on characteristics of new homes started in its Survey of Construction (SOC), including air conditioning and heating systems.
In 2016, 93.5 percent of new single-family homes started included a central air conditioning system. The share of new homes with central a/c rose steadily between 2000 and 2004 but remained essentially flat between 2005 and 2011. After 2011, the share continued on an upward trajectory.
The share of new single-family homes started with central a/c differs by census division. One hundred percent of homes started in the West South Central, East South Central, and South Atlantic divisions had central a/c installed, followed by 99 percent of homes in the West North Central division. Ninety-two percent of new single-family homes started in the East North Central and the Middle Atlantic included central a/c, as well as 86 percent of homes in the Mountain division.
The New England and Pacific divisions had the smallest shares of new single-family homes with central a/c installed — 77 and 72 percent, respectively. However, from 2015 to 2016, these two divisions experienced the largest percentage point increases, up 5.3 and 4.5 percentage points, respectively.
The majority of new single-family homes started in 2016 had either a forced air system or an air- or ground-source heat pump system. The share with a forced air system steadily declined from 71 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2015, however, it edged up slightly to 57 percent in 2016. The opposite is true for air or ground heat pump systems which grew from 23 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2015 and leveled off to 41 percent in 2016.
The share of new homes with an air- or ground-source heat pump varies significantly by census division. In warmer regions of the country, these systems are more prevalent — 72 percent in the South Atlantic, 69 percent in the East South Central, and 46 percent in the West South Central. In colder regions, air or ground heat pumps are not as common — 29 percent in the West North Central, 13 percent in the Mountain division, 9 percent each in the East North Central and the Middle Atlantic, and only 4 percent of new homes in New England.
Publication date: 12/25/2017