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EnviroLink Forum • View topic - Air Conditioning - are we creating a feedback loop?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2022 8:07 pm 
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It's hot out here, and when I walk into a building with AC, it feels sooooooo good.

But I live without it. Why? It's a feedback loop (catch 22).

It gets hotter, so we crank up the AC. The AC uses a lot of energy that comes from the grid (times the millions of units) and creates a little heat island outdoors. The result is the AC is a contributor to global warming.

So as it gets warmer outside, the AC has to work even higher, using more polluting energy from the grid, and creating a greater heat island outdoors. That makes the world hotter.

So the AC has to work even harder, using more energy and making that heat island even hotter.

So by using the AC we are contributing to global warming, which makes the AC work harder causing more global warming which makes the AC work harder causing more global warming which makes the AC work harder causing more global warming which makes the AC work harder causing more global warming, ad infinitum.

The International Energy Agency projects that by 2050 worldwide air conditioning will produce 2 billion tonnes of CO2 a year. And that doesn't take into account the heat emitted by the units themselves.

As much as like the cool, I can't justify using it.

So I painted my roof bright white, planted shade trees around the house but not directly over the roof, and when it's 90 degrees outside my Florida home, it's only 80 inside. Some fans take care of that.

https://pressreleases.responsesource.co ... the-room-/

The air conditioning trap: how cold air is heating the world https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... -the-world

One of the great ironies of climate change is that as the planet warms, the technology that people need to stay cool will only make the climate hotter https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... he-planet/

Air conditioning is a big contributor to climate change. https://www.cnbc.com/video/2021/07/24/a ... hange.html

Why smarter surfaces, not air conditioning, is the answer for our scorching cities https://www.globalconstructionreview.co ... ng-cities/

So can you call yourself an environmentalist and run your AC, when you could paint your roof white, plant shade trees, install fans and do more non-polluting ways to keep your cool?

Think about it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:29 am 
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Insulation and airtight design can drastically reduce the energy needed to keep indoor air conditions comfortable (temperature, humidity, freshness) via heat exchangers in what is called an HRV or ERV. Radiative cooling is a technology starting to be used where special surfaces aimed at cloudless sky (day or night) get very cold. This cold can be stored in various parts of the system to deliver cold when needed after collecting cold when the sky is clear. With thermal storage, heat pumps (in this case called air conditioners), can run when electricity rates are cheap and presumably mostly made with renewable sources and deliver the cold later as needed.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:26 am 
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True, but isn't it still warming the earth, just less?

Since the dawn of evolution (or Adam & Eve if you prefer) well over 99% of the humans that have ever existed have done so without Air Conditioning.

That makes AC a want, and not a need.

So can we call ourselves an environmentalist if we use AC?

When the AC energy consumption in the US are greater than the industrial consumption, can we criticize industry without being hypocritical?

Can we justify heating the planet more so we can personally keep cool?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:05 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 6:29 pm 
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This is the same thing I am saying to my family and friends for the past few years. AC is actually a short-term solution but only some cares about this because most of them do not want themselves to be deprived of comfort that the technology is giving and just tell me that I just cannot afford it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2022 10:45 am 
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I guess different sources have different estimates.

However, AC is not necessary. Since the dawn of Homo sapiens (or Adam and Eve if you prefer) over 99% of the people who have ever lived on this earth have done so without air conditioning. We don't NEED AC, we WANT AC.

There are other ways to cool ourselves, many have proven themselves throughout history. White roofs, shade trees, dressing appropriately, and so on.

When I grew up in Florida, nobody had AC. All the houses had white roofs, people planted shade trees, they put storm awnings over the windows that shaded the window and could be dropped down for hurricanes, they insulated attics, they opened windows, and dressed appropriately.

Now we have houses with dark roofs, sealed up like tombs, with meters spinning like tops.

We also have dead cows in Kansas and crop changes all over.

You may want to rationalize your use of AC, but it's a major contributor to global warming.

I painted my roof white, planted shade trees around my house (but not over the roof) and when it's +90 degrees outside, it's a comfortable 80 inside. A couple of fans make that 80 quite comfortable. And I save hundreds of dollars of electricity costs as a bonus.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2022 3:16 pm 
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Also, heat kills and has killed in the past. Bad diet also used to kill a lot more people. Look at AC not as a luxury but as a lifesaving technology that is necessary for billions of people. With that perspective, it is not an option to go without a cool building temperature but it is optional on how you achieve this temperature regulation.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2022 5:29 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:59 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:46 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 2:02 pm 
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I was brought up with every bit helps. Weren't we supposed to do everything we can when we founded Earth Day? Think globally, act locally?

You can rationalize what you want. I gave sources, including one from Scientific American Magazine, (which is a scholarly and respected publication), who say that AC is a global warming factor. You can choose to believe or not.

I've read dozens of articles including one from an AC company that say the AC contributes to global warming. I have not read even one article that says it isn't.

If run your AC, can you criticize others who pollute? Is it "do as I say? Not as I do?"

I planted +30 trees on my lot, I consolidate my driving routes, I planted my yard with plants that neither need water nor fertilizer, I reuse - refuse - recycle, I drive like I'm in the historic Mobil Economy Run to get 100 extra miles per tankful, I buy as much local food as is available, I painted my roof bright white to reflect the heat, I air-dry laundry, I replaced my Edison light bulbs with LEDs, I choose not to use the AC, and more.

If everyone did that, we might buy more time before the climate change diminishes our food supply even further.

Won't you join me?

Bob

PS I live in Florida, and with the white roof and trees around the house (but not over the roof) it never-ever gets over 80 degrees F in the house. Using AC is an unnecessary use of power and if you are on the grid, your power is a pollutant contributing to global warming.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:28 pm 
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