For such tame technology, air conditioning really packs a punch when it comes to enabling environmental obscenities, indefensible infrastructure, and shortsighted settlement patterns.
Prior to the invention of air-conditioning, architects had to figure out ways to keep people cool and ventilated through design rather than through the action of refrigerants and compressors.
The severe heat is driving almost all social gatherings and group activities into enclosed, air-conditioned spaces. Getting together these days in the cool indoor world can dramatically raise the risk of coronavirus infection.
Qatar is both a country and a peninsula which juts out about 100 miles into the Persian Gulf. It is precisely this geography which makes it both one of the hottest and muggiest places on Earth. The average daily high in mid-summer is 108 degrees F (42 degrees C).
Phillips, like many AC fans before him, falls back on the sly trope that all “attacks” on air-conditioning are motivated by an “obsession with individual asceticism.” No, they’re not.
Improving cooling center signage and generally making the facilities more inviting is part of New York City’s $106-million “Cool Neighborhoods” plan, launched last year to mitigate the health risks of extreme heat.
A new possibility for near-term abatement involves heat/cool energy, the only type of consumption that’s unaffected by growing demand for electronic technology. In addition to cutting carbon, less air conditioning also cuts the use of chlorinated refrigerants.
As I learned in graduate-school, the legitimate fear of change and the unknown expressed in each case is, more significantly, working at the same time to protect some form of unacknowledged and unseen privilege.
Cooling people by increasing local airflow is at least ten times more energy efficient than refrigerating the air in a given space, and it also adds the benefit of a personally controlled thermal environment.