Putting the A/C at the right temperature

Air conditioning is a fantastic invention as it allows to remain cool when temperatures are reaching 30°C and even 40°C. However, in many buildings around the world, the A/C is not set at the right temperature. As the New York times noted :

“Without fail, every year since moving to Hong Kong, I get a really bad cold. (…) “Oh, it’s quite common this time of year,” my doctor told me. “Everyone gets sick.” He was referring to the time of year that Hong Kong cranks up its air-conditioning. “

I have read that the same situation occurs in Singapore. I have witnessed it first hand in Europe as well. Others have told me about such a situation in America. This is a widespread phenomenon.

But what is the point exactly the point of putting the thermostat too low ? I believe people are simply not aware of what putting the thermostat too low means for our health, our economies and our environment.

However, research has shown that setting the thermostat at 22°C (72°F) is nearly perfect to work.

One, should however not put the thermostat too high. Indeed as the New York Times green blog noted :

Also, as is being reported from Japan, air conditioning is a life saver during hot summers, and energy-conservation efforts related to the precautionary shutdown of many of the country’s nuclear power plants appear to have led to a surge in deaths from heat stroke.

Concerning the United States, it is worth noting that the US Army spends $20 billion per yearjust to cool down tents in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a lot !

China, however is more moderate on this issue by setting warmer temperatures in summer for air conditioning and colder ones during the winters (if you have a link on that, I would gladly oblige. I found one once but couldn’t get it back…)

But to conclude, let me remind that the more we will use air conditioning today, the more we will suffer from heat tomorrow.

Indeed, A/C consume electricity (which most often than not comes from fossil fuels spewing greenhouse gases) and that A/C use CFCs to operate. CFCs are very powerful greenhouse gases…

To keep comfy and cool with future heats, there may well be three solutions : 90% more efficient air conditioning solar air conditioning as well as heat pumps. Or the good old fan… 😉

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