The method of degree days or Accumulated Temperature Difference - ATD allows the need for heating in a building to be assessed.
It is usually based on standard assumptions:
Hence the base temperature can be calculated:
So, conventionally, Tb = 15.5 degrees centigrade in the UK.
For locations where the outside temperature is less than the base temperature, the following formula may be applied:
Where Tmax and Tmin refer to daily outside temperatures.
If the daily average outside temperature (i.e. (Tmax+Tmin)/2) is 1 degree below Tb, the Degree Days = 1. If the daily average outside temperature is 2 degrees below Tb, the Degree Days = 2.
The Degree Days value may be summed over several days, or over a month, or over the whole Winter season. This accumulated temperature difference total for a locality is a measure of climatic severity. It can be used in the calculation of heat loss and energy consumption.
For example, the UK Government publishes Degree Day data averaged over several years for locations across the country. However this is based simply on Meteorological Office MET-Station temperature measurements and therefore does not account for extra heat losses due to exposure to wind, and solar heat gains.