It's the Environment, Stupid.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The AC dilemma

My roommate and I are probably going to get an air conditioner soon. Like tomorrow probably. I really thought that I could be the good energy saver and not get one. But when the place doesn't cool down for four days straight and it gets a little too warm to sleep, that's when I started doing a little AC research.

Where I come from we don't need air conditioners in our homes. There might be a week or two, or three tops (however, more than likely not consecutive weeks) of warm temperatures in the summer, but then it'll cool down and you can get on with life.

Of course there's part of me that says - suck it up, it's only three months out of the year. Then there's the other part of me that says - boy it sure is hot in here, even with the fans, if only I had AC like the rest of New York.

So I'll probably justify the acquisition of this luxury item by doing a little homework on the appropriate btu and energy efficiency of the AC unit - but that is just one more AC unit that'll be on the great big power grid of the city.


  • Your not electric alternatives require a bit more room than your average New York apartment, but if you have the space and security for a) a large burlap water bag that can drip just beyond your open window and b) a large open container of water to place in the sulight that entered your apartment, the cooling produced by evaporation can lower local air temperatures. A few large plants to provide evapotranspiration and you are well on your way to reproducing the ecosystem services of a small Hemlock Ravine in CT, where it may be over 90 outside but in the shade of the hemlocks it is a much cooler 75 degrees.

    Lacking the space and security for these air conditioning options, you may be forgiven for going, ruefully, on the grid for your relief.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:47  

  • I feel your dilema. I lived in Georgia for several years and would prolong the time before I turned my AC on in the summer as much as possilbe. Since summers are long, hot, and humid, the South wouldn't populated as it is today if it wasn't for AC (is that a good thing?). That being said, we can all get our bodies to acclimate to a certain range. I'm reminded of Thoreau's Walden where he recounts a story about "civilized" men and "savages" around a campfire. The city folk sat as close to the fire as possible and still couldn't get warm. The "savages" stood 15 feet away and couldn't stop sweating. For me, it had to get to about 86 degrees in the house for me to break down and turn the AC on. Thankfully, where I live now, that problem no longer exists :).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06:11  

  • Well - I live in Spain and believe me it gets HOT here in summer, especially July and August. I went a few years without air-con but in I now live in a flat that faces west so it gets unbearable in the afternoon. I tried with awnings but it just wasn't enough. So we got some air-con. But yeah, I know, it's just sucking up more energy. We try and use it as little as possible (maybe 20 days a year).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09:40  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:19  

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