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Air Conditioning Appreciation Days

by Mary Anderson on 2024-07-01T07:00:00-05:00 | 0 Comments

Icon of an air conditioner with the text: air conditioning appreciation days The period from July 3 to August 15 is known as the Air Conditioning Appreciation Days, a time to celebrate the many benefits air conditioners have brought us. Air conditioning is not just about comfort but has also benefits related to health as well as to economic development and growth.

In fact, air conditioning was developed first to aid with manufacturing, not human comfort.  In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first modern air conditioning system for a printing plant in Brooklyn, New York. His invention not only cooled the air but also controlled humidity, which was crucial for the printing process. This breakthrough laid the foundation for the air conditioning systems we use today. Though initially their cost and size were too much for home use, by the mid-20th century, advancements in technology and mass production made air conditioning more affordable for the general public.

Book cover for Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed EverythingAir conditioning continues to be important in industry. Many products such as pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, petrochemicals, electric vehicles could not be made without temperature control. Air conditioning also provides more comfortable working conditions that in turn boost concentration and efficiency as well as provides for extended work hours. It also helps in preserving sensitive equipment and materials. Air conditioning additionally has several health benefits. By reducing heat-related illnesses and preventing heatstroke, it protects vulnerable populations such as the elderly and chronically ill. Air conditioning systems also improve indoor air quality by filtering out pollutants, allergens, and dust, benefiting those with respiratory issues.

At the same time, air conditioning has several drawbacks. High energy consumption leads to increased electricity bills and strains on power grids. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep air conditioning systems efficient, which can be costly and, if neglected, can lead to indoor air quality issues like mold and bacteria buildup. Health concerns arise from over-reliance on air conditioning, such as dry skin, respiratory issues, and reduced heat tolerance.

A book cover of Sustainable Architecture As the planet warms, the demand for air conditioning increases. Ironically, cooling is a big contributor to climate change. As noted above many existing air conditioning systems require a lot of energy, but they also use hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, potent greenhouse gases, and so are a double burden for climate change. If changes aren’t made, emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.

So while there is much to be appreciated about air conditioning, we must continue to seek new and better cooling options. Nature based solutions – for example, planting urban forests, creating urban water bodies such as lakes and canals, restoring wetlands, and converting to green roofs – look promising but require more study and investment. To learn more about history and importance of air conditioning, be sure to explore these books from the Library. Also, see these resources on sustainable architecture and natural cooling.

 


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