28 July 2006

Air-con con

Air-con is one thing that I'm not a fan of (pun absolutely not meant). Yes, it may be nice to be able to cool down on that hot summers day, but it's a huge drain on energy. I know that anyone who lives in a 'hot' place will say it's an necessity to be able to live there, but I've only two things to say to them:

What did people who lived there before air-con became available do?
Why live there if you can't stand the heat?

I believe if it's too hot for humans to live in a certain place, then we shouldn't really be making our homes there. Nature might be trying to tell us something; either it's not for you, or global warming is making this happen, do something about it (hint, more air-con isn't the solution).

As regards a huge drain on energy, I think that in places such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore or New York (high density cities), it creates a vicious circle. By pushing the warm air out of buildings to create a cooler interior, you are therefore creating a larger difference between the temperature inside and out, making the air-con work harder, and the outside temperature warmer.
Here, it seems Tokyo has come up with a novel idea to tackle the problem (slightly).

OK, obviously air-con does have it's advantages. I do believe that it increases worker productivity, as i find it easier to get work done in the mornings at the minute rather than afternoon, and no wonder the people of mediteraanean Europe are famous for their 2-4 hour siestas. It would be quite difficult to work in that heat. But we still need to find ways of off-setting the fact that it still isn't good for our environment.

But the one thing that really gets me annoyed is over usage of air-con. A mate in Australia tells me of how he wears shorts and t-shirt to work, but brings a jumper with him as it gets a bit too cold in the office. Much worse though is a friend in Toronto who tells me she actually has to switch on the heater at work as the office is much too cold as the air-con is on. Talk about screwed up. It gives me the feeling the person in control of building conditioning is getting kick-backs from energy companies (he probably turns up the heat too high in the winter so that they have to switch on the air-con).