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Where’s the best climate for evaporative cooling? 09/01/2015

As you probably know, evaporative cooling works best in climates that are hot and have low humidity.

As humidity rises, evaporative cooling units become less efficient. That’s not to say they won’t work at all – a map of the world showing where evap cooling works the best shows more and more green areas as the technology improves and units become more universal.


In the right climate, evaporative cooling can be up to 80 per cent more efficient than refrigerated air conditioning, and users can see the clear benefits of installing the system.

However, when humidity starts to rise, there’s less benefit from evap cooling and running costs begin to increase. Once you’re in areas with high humidity, the technology doesn’t offer sufficient cooling to make it worthwhile. Yes, you will increase air movement and overall ventilation, but in high temperatures, the jury is out as to whether this really helps at all.

So, to take a look at the world map of world cooling, there’s a huge band of green across southern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. There’s also (as you’d expect) much of the West Coast USA, and similar bands covering much of southern Africa and Latin America. Students of geography might note that these roughly equate to what we might call the “tropics”, but they’re areas with dry, hot climates where evaporative cooling works best.

Equally interesting are those areas marked yellow – areas which are slightly cooler and more prone to humidity. The UK is in this band, as is much of Western Europe, and they show areas where the technology still works fine but not at greatest efficiency. What’s interesting is that as global warming becomes a reality (and all the science agrees), these regions will become more amenable to evaporative cooling techniques, meaning it will be cheaper and more efficient.

We’re not even going to bother with cooling Alaska. It’s cool enough.

As the technology improves and temperatures rise, we’ll see a slow process where this map gets greener. Evaporative cooling doesn’t work everywhere, but when it does, it’s a marvel.

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