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Air conditioning is baking the world

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posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 06:44 AM
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Although this is not exactly new (Oct. 2008), I have just discovered today this article about how and why air conditioning has a very big impact on the world's energy consumption and how it affects the global warming through its proliferation in the world.


When you think of the causes of global warming, you may picture an SUV before you picture a central AC unit. But almost 20 percent of electricity consumption in U.S. homes goes to AC -- that's as much electricity as the entire continent of Africa uses for all purposes.

Source of the original article.

But there is more. It is becoming a bigger and bigger thing, as suggested in this extract:

When I looked at the doubling in the amount of electricity used for air conditioning homes in this country just since the mid-90s, I thought, we really need to address this, because it is a big contributor to greenhouse-gas release and it's going to increase the likelihood that we're going to have longer, more intense heat waves and hotter summers in the future, and we're going to have to be running the air-conditioning even more.

The snake biting its tail...

After reading this, I became a bit more interested in the subject, and I have found a very interesting article published by the Green Times, an online australian publication.

There are many interesting facts to learn in it. Extracts:

The energy an average air conditioner uses in on 3 hours is enough to power a fridge for a week.


A large electricity bill may affect you in the short term, but high-energy consumption is likely to affect the environment in the long term.


(...) the use of many air conditioners can and does affect the local temperature. As the cool air is created inside, intense hot air is pumped outside via the condensers. This creates heat zones, multiply these zones in a city and you have what the science world call an urban heat island.

Full article.

Morale of the story, the more we use it, and the more it's needed. It doesn't take a lot to accept a few more degrees and refrain using too much air conditioners. It has impacts on your energy bill, on your health, on the earth ecology, and it's accelerating...

Maybe it's time to think about using it in a more intelligent way. Don't you find it stupid, when it's very hot in a house already, to turn the radiators on? Well, same with the airco. When it's just nice and sunny outside, instead of using airco and close all windows, doors etc., why not just open a few, create a chill effect by letting air circulate and enjoy the outside world? Same in the car. Using airco in the car does increase fuel usage as well.




posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 06:59 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Truly a disturbing state of disparity in the masses.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:22 AM
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It's not just, or even mostly, an American problem. In the rapidly developing economies of tropical Asia, the use of air conditioning is growing exponentially.


Air-conditioning sales are growing 20 percent a year in China and India, as middle classes grow, units become more affordable and temperatures rise with climate change. The potential cooling demands of upwardly mobile Mumbai, India, alone have been estimated to be a quarter of those of the United States. NY Times


Last year, 55 percent of new air conditioners were sold in the Asia-Pacific region. Cities that might not exist without air conditioning

What is worse, air conditioners in most Asian countries still use CFCs – scary greenhouse gases, mostly phased out in the West, that are a lot more dangerous to the world than carbon dioxide:


Most air-conditioning systems in India and China use the cheap refrigerant HCFC-22, which is banned in Europe and will soon be in the United States. But developing countries are allowed to use it until 2040. SciDev Net

And in the end, nobody wins:


Air conditioning takes indoor heat and pushes it outdoors. To do this, it uses energy, which increases production of greenhouse gases, which warm the atmosphere. From a cooling standpoint, the first transaction is a wash, and the second is a loss. We're cooking our planet to refrigerate the diminishing part that's still habitable. Slate

And of course, a warming world simply exacerbates the problem:


The hotter it gets, the more energy we burn. In 1981, only one in three American households with central air used it all summer long. By 1997, more than half did. Countries once cooled by outdoor air now cool themselves. In Britain, 75 percent of new cars have air conditioning. In Canada, energy consumption for residential cooling has doubled in 10 years, and half the homes now have central or window units. Kuujjuaq, an Eskimo village 1,000 miles north of Montreal, just bought 10 air conditioners. According to the mayor, it's been getting hot lately. Slate

I'm old-school. Closed-up rooms make me claustrophobic. I have air conditioning in my office and bedroom, but rarely, if ever, use either. The car A/C gets used quite a bit if I'm driving through daytime traffic on my way to a business appointment, since it's important that I arrive looking cool, dry and professional. But whenever I can, I leave the car A/C off. My other vehicle, an ancient Land Rover, doesn't have air conditioning at all.

I prefer shade, open windows, cooling fans and the hundreds of effective tricks used in vernacular tropical architecture to keep buildings comfortable and cool. They work, and one avoids the debilitating, body-odour promoting metabolic changes that occur as you shuttle from hotspot to cool spot.

Believe me, it's hot where I live. But seriously, air conditioning is addictive. The more you get used to it, the more you think you need it. The fact is, we can live without it – it's our gadgets and our luxuries that need to be climate-controlled, not us.


edit on 19/7/12 by Astyanax because: of typos.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:42 AM
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This all assumes worst case scenario, ie; R22 refrigerant, air to air systems when actually (especially on a commercial & industrial scale) heat rejection can take place via a ground or water loop. Even on conventional heat rejection to the outside air modern systems are able to recover sometimes all of the waste heat to supply hot water. Add in the fact that modern compressor technology enables systems to use a lot less power in the first place, more accurately meeting the cooling demand required, reducing high starting currents, halting the on/off cycling and also supply hot water all the while running on newly developed refrigerant gases (including the fabled "natural refrigerants") which don't have the same environmental risks as HCFC's. You're left with an advanced, modern and extremely efficient technology for controlling the temperature throughout an entire building while also supplying a percentage of "free" hot water which can remove the requirement for gas fired boilers which obviously immediately drops the carbon footprint massively.

As for the exclusion of the developing nations with regards to the legislative compliance, that was just plane lunacy when probably around 60% of the equipment I describe above is actually manufactured in Chinese factories but that's one for the politicians to sort out. Those of us in the industry are doing our part as best we can.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by SpookyVince
Morale of the story, the more we use it, and the more it's needed.


The same could be said about industrialized society as a whole.


When it's just nice and sunny outside, instead of using airco and close all windows, doors etc., why not just open a few, create a chill effect by letting air circulate and enjoy the outside world?


I wish! In my house its very difficult to get a breeze going through. I don't think houses are designed with such things in mind. Wind patterns don't seem to be designed with that in mind either. :p

My downstairs neighbor doesn't use his AC much. His place gets hot. Guess where all that heat goes? You guessed it. UP.


edit on 19-7-2012 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:49 AM
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Yeah, well the world is baking me. Recently anyway.

There are all sorts of alternate ways to power machines and cool air, but the hvac/energy industry has chosen to use, promote, sell, and monopolize the most inefficient and costly way possible. They have effectively priced out materials that many of us would use to heat and cool our homes without damaging the environment.

Want to be POd.. thats who you can be POd at. Thats NOT only the US.. thats worldwide.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by redandblue
This all assumes worst case scenario, ie; R22 refrigerant, air to air systems when actually (especially on a commercial & industrial scale) heat rejection can take place via a ground or water loop. Even on conventional heat rejection to the outside air modern systems are able to recover sometimes all of the waste heat to supply hot water. Add in the fact that modern compressor technology enables systems to use a lot less power in the first place, more accurately meeting the cooling demand required, reducing high starting currents, halting the on/off cycling and also supply hot water all the while running on newly developed refrigerant gases (including the fabled "natural refrigerants") which don't have the same environmental risks as HCFC's. You're left with an advanced, modern and extremely efficient technology for controlling the temperature throughout an entire building while also supplying a percentage of "free" hot water which can remove the requirement for gas fired boilers which obviously immediately drops the carbon footprint massively.

As for the exclusion of the developing nations with regards to the legislative compliance, that was just plane lunacy when probably around 60% of the equipment I describe above is actually manufactured in Chinese factories but that's one for the politicians to sort out. Those of us in the industry are doing our part as best we can.


If I'm not mistaken, there is a short answer to the OP's statement rather than trying to get it from the above quote. The heat exhausted from any a/c unit is that taken from the space it is conditioning. In effect it is that heat is already there, but collected by the a/c unit and dumped to another (outslide) place. Yes, the equipment itself produces heat and uses electricity, but the hot, exhausted air by and large is not the problem, the litereal moving it from one place to another is....



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 07:59 AM
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My air conditioning is set at 60 degrees. Feels great compared to the 100 outside. Not my fault they surpress better technology that can be useful in many different areas. Everything 'hurts' the environment, but the earth adapts regardless if it's inhabitants survive.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:00 AM
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what about the color of our roofing?.....
that would make a huge diff.....every one is dark colored here in Texas.....I always use white shingles.....but no one else....



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by GBP/JPY
what about the color of our roofing?.....
that would make a huge diff.....every one is dark colored here in Texas.....I always use white shingles.....but no one else....


White?! We didnt even have the choice of white.. just an ugly grey.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by Aliensun
moving it from one place to another is....


Yep. That's the urban heat island mentioned. There's a great law that says that nothing is created, everything is transformed. This remains true, as to cool down the inside of the places we live, work and shop in, then it has to raise the temperature of the outsides of it. Plus the fact that the energy required to produce that heat transfer, in itself, is also a playing factor in the global warming already...

And that's why the more we use it, the more we need it... The solution we created to a problem aggravates the problem itself. Isn't it ironic?



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:03 AM
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although i agree with conserving energy where we can, the part about global warming is a farce and makes the articles writer look like a moron or a political shill or both.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:04 AM
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Reply to post by SpookyVince
 


air conditioning is not solely about cooling. What the evaporator coil does is remove moisture from the air.

Even if it is a nice day, it can be awfully humid and AC is a giant help in that regard. Open windows and wind do not help humidity. I live where humidity is pretty bad and lemme tell you, it's disgusting.
Just wanted to throw that in.


 
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posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by Aliensun

Originally posted by redandblue
This all assumes worst case scenario, ie; R22 refrigerant, air to air systems when actually (especially on a commercial & industrial scale) heat rejection can take place via a ground or water loop. Even on conventional heat rejection to the outside air modern systems are able to recover sometimes all of the waste heat to supply hot water. Add in the fact that modern compressor technology enables systems to use a lot less power in the first place, more accurately meeting the cooling demand required, reducing high starting currents, halting the on/off cycling and also supply hot water all the while running on newly developed refrigerant gases (including the fabled "natural refrigerants") which don't have the same environmental risks as HCFC's. You're left with an advanced, modern and extremely efficient technology for controlling the temperature throughout an entire building while also supplying a percentage of "free" hot water which can remove the requirement for gas fired boilers which obviously immediately drops the carbon footprint massively.

As for the exclusion of the developing nations with regards to the legislative compliance, that was just plane lunacy when probably around 60% of the equipment I describe above is actually manufactured in Chinese factories but that's one for the politicians to sort out. Those of us in the industry are doing our part as best we can.


If I'm not mistaken, there is a short answer to the OP's statement rather than trying to get it from the above quote. The heat exhausted from any a/c unit is that taken from the space it is conditioning. In effect it is that heat is already there, but collected by the a/c unit and dumped to another (outslide) place. Yes, the equipment itself produces heat and uses electricity, but the hot, exhausted air by and large is not the problem, the litereal moving it from one place to another is....


Yes but my point is that the focus isn't now on just dumping it elsewhere, it's about re-using it where possible. When this can be done using modern equipment it's possible to show a substantial energy reduction for a building.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:26 AM
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A split system does not "dump" hot air from inside to outside.

The heat given off is a result of the condenser fan pulling warm air over the condensing coil. Heat is also given off as a result of the compressor changing the refrigerant from gas to liquid.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:40 AM
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Originally posted by spinalremain
A split system does not "dump" hot air from inside to outside.

The heat given off is a result of the condenser fan pulling warm air over the condensing coil. Heat is also given off as a result of the compressor changing the refrigerant from gas to liquid.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



It's over simplifying the process a lot but in essence a split does indeed dump the heat from inside to outside. Indoor unit (aka evaporator) is where the refrigerant unsurprisingly evaporates so from a liquid to a gas state, which is where the internal heat transfer takes place. The refrigerant is then carried back to the condenser where... unsurprisingly it condenses from gas to liquid state expelling the transferred heat accross the coil.

All refrigeration processes (of which air conditioning is included) are based around heat transfer.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:44 AM
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I have noticed a disturbing trend this summer. People are leaving their SUVs running in the parking lot -- so they stay cool. These people are a waste of oxygen.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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Originally posted by PatriotAct
My air conditioning is set at 60 degrees. Feels great compared to the 100 outside.


Astounding... When it is that cold outside, we turn the heating on! Are you serious? I would not even consider using airco if the temperature is not over 80-85 (fahrenheit). 60, I seriously would be freezing.



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 09:05 AM
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reply to post by GBP/JPY
 


Check this. Actually, using white or light colored roofs is very seriously considered by many sources.

Another option, although it may involve a bit more work to build properly, and to maintain properly, is using "natural" roofs, i.e. roofs that are actually covered in grass or other vegetation, in plain earth. It also has the advantage of absorbing heat, it equally absorbs a part of the water from rains. Check www.greenroofs.com... or www.greenroofs.org... for instance.

It's not only about just roofs in any way, but fact is that more and more surface of the globe is covered in roads, in concrete, etc. It certainly reflects more heat in the air than the nature that once was in the same place...



posted on Jul, 19 2012 @ 09:18 AM
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I agree. The cost of air conditioners has gone down because of importing them and this makes them more accessible to everyone. More people are using them now which equates to higher emmissions. It's simple, set the AC so it's at seventy six instead of seventy and it will be cheaper to use, the unit will last longer, and save our environment. It doesn't have to cost more money to be greener. Turn off unused lights in the summer. it's brighter out anyway. TV's will last longer if you turn them off when not watching them. LCD monitors save a lot of power vs old monitors and create less heat. A fridge heats the house as it cools, in the winter that's not a problem. It just means your furnace runs less.

I'm trying to figure how to make some sort of cheap venting system to be opened in the summer over the fridge so the heat leaves the building. It would be nice if they had a remote coil attachment you could plug into the fridge unit and put it outside. a switch to change it from inside to outside for summer'winter use would be nice. Probably be expensive. A remote coil with built in shutters to allow heat to stay in the building away from the fridge in the winter and vented outside in the summer would be great. It also keeps the developed heat away from the fridge and may reduce the fridge costs that way. Efficiency in the environment around the fridge/kitchen is the clue.



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