Keep Your Cool – Air Conditioning in Our Everyday Lives
Close your eyes a moment and imagine it is a warm, sultry day in 1900. You are sitting on your porch with a tall glass of iced tea, courtesy of the ice just delivered from the local ice man. Thank goodness for the ice box, iced tea and breezy porches. Air conditioning has yet to be invented. Thank you to Willis Carrier for inventing air conditioning in 1902. For years air conditioning was primarily in public places, making things like going to the movies a popular event on a hot summer day. Room (window mounted) air conditioners helped in many homes, although sometimes were used only in a few rooms. As a little girl at my grandparents in South Texas, I’d plant myself in front of the window ac to cool off! Air conditioning, especially central air conditioning, changed how and where we live and work. Air conditioning has made possible the vast migration to the south. Can you imagine millions of people choosing to move to Houston, Atlanta or Phoenix WITHOUT air conditioning?
What a Wonderful Life We Have with AC
Nowadays we often don’t give a second thought to air conditioning. At least not until it quits working or the power goes out. And of course those events typically happen on hot days when the cooling is sorely missed. According to Wikipedia, 88% of new single-family homes constructed in 2011 included air conditioning, ranging from 99% in the South to 62% in the West.
Air conditioning has not only changed where we live and work, it has changed HOW we live and work. Air conditioning allows us to stay inside, rather than be out on the porch talking with “folks.” Add television to the mix and a more private life evolved. Even architecture changed as homes and buildings no longer needed to rely on local climate and natural ventilation to stay cool. The regional uniqueness of architecture in different climate types has all but disappeared in today’s air conditioning, electrified homes.
Air conditioning has come with its price as well. Much of our electric bill is due to air conditioning. This in turn means more electricity and more fuel (where applicable) to make the electricity used to cool our buildings, homes and vehicles. Air conditioning places a tremendous load on our electric systems and fuel used to produce the electricity needed, especially at the hottest time of the day, when peak load electricity may be needed to keep up with the air conditioning. So what to do?
The next blog will share with you how to reduce your AC load without breaking a sweat. To read more about keeping your cool this summer, check out my blog on HomeNav Home Cooling Tips That Help You Beat The Heat. Here’s to keeping your cool the rest of this summer!
Topics: Heating & Cooling
Marla Esser Cloos Marla inspires and educates about what makes a green home green and how to do it – a bit at a time or all at once. Her work creating an online owners’ manual for green and greener homes, HomeNav.com, and work in national and local businesses, groups and associations, provides her a unique perspective to help people realize the true values of green homes as safer, healthier and more comfortable homes. Marla founded and co-hosts the Green Gab Podcast, on iTunes, 2 Guys Talking Podcast Network and GreenHomeCoach.com. She blogs on Green Home Coach and Proud Green Home. Her articles have appeared in Green Home Builder, Building Women and The Healthy Planet and she is the author of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better Home from NAHB Builder Books. www