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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Published on Thursday, August 24, 2006 by the Independent / UK<br><br><br><br><b>Why Air Con is Ruining Our Environment<br><br>
Our love of air con is making the world even hotter</b><br><br>
by Jimmy Lee Shreeve<br><br><br><br>
During this summer's record-breaking heatwave judges removed their wigs in court, Buckingham Palace guards headed for the shade and the lions at Colchester Zoo were given blood-flavoured ice blocks to lick. It's no wonder we've been snapping up portable air-conditioning systems in a big way to cool down. Currys says it was selling two air-conditioning units every minute during the hottest periods. Other retailers say they have been selling 10 times as many units as usual. And it's not just about comfort. In the heatwave of 2003, 30,000 people died across Europe, the continent's biggest ever natural disaster. Since then, governments have put measures in place to prevent heat-related deaths, including the installation of portable air-conditioning systems in care homes, older hospitals and schools.<br><br><br><br>
We can hardly be blamed for cocooning ourselves in air-conditioned offices, cars, shops and increasingly our homes - especially with temperatures last month averaging 7C higher than usual across southern England and Scotland. Global warming forecasts predict that, within 40 years, every summer will be as sweltering as the 2003 heatwave. But the irony is, as we run away from the effects of global warming, we only add to the problem.</div>
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<br><br><br><a href="http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0824-06.htm" target="_blank">http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0824-06.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
Oh, dear. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sweatdrop.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":sweat:">
 

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Good job the heatwave's over then...for now.<br><br><br><br>
And that I never brought one <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/pibo.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":pibo:">
 

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So it's a positive feedback loop-- the hotter it gets, the more we crank our ACs, the more coal is burned, and the more CO2 is discharged.<br><br><br><br>
I read an interesting book a while back called Big & Green, about environemtnally friendly design for large buildings. It showcased probably nearly 50 large office buildings around the world and discussed the technologies that had been used to make them more energy- and material-efficient, as well as more human-friendly. Passive HVAC systems and natural lighting were two biggies. Sadly, I think <b>ONE</b> of the nearly 50 showcased buldings was in the US. We appear to be lagging way behind the rest of the world when it comes to building for the future.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tesseract</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Sadly, I think <b>ONE</b> of the nearly 50 showcased buldings was in the US. We appear to be lagging way behind the rest of the world when it comes to building for the future.</div>
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I'm not surprised by this at all. Thanks for the book tip Tess, that sounds like an interesting read.
 

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It seems to me that effective use of solar panels could also help negate the affect of air conditioning on buildings that are low to the ground. If one puts solar panels on the roofs of such buildings they could not only generate electricity for air conditioning, they could shade the roof area from the sun thus reducing the heating of the building. This won't work for cities with tall buildings, but it might help in outlying areas.<br><br><br><br>
I also wonder if anyone has done a study of what would happen if we were to plant more trees in the parking lots that collect the heat all day long. More trees might go a long way in reducing the heat absorbed during the day and released at night (preventing cooling.)
 

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Of course trees should be planted in parking lots and around buildings. That trees provide cooling has been known a long time. There's no real mystery to appropriate landscaping and architecture, it simply hasn't been used because we have had all this cheap energy.
 

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many people are uneducated about heat. they eat ice-cream and cold stuff from the fridge and wonder why they feel hot... we should just live a more laid-back life, like they have always done in spain etc. the less productive we are the more we help our planet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
also, i think many people turn their ac's up to far. there is no need to have 23° inside when it's 35° outside. 28° will do, that 5° difference will translate into great energy savings, compared to 23° of course. and the risk of getting a cold is avoided.<br><br>
apart from that, ac's tend to blow around dust and other stuff <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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I live in Central Texas and we don't use air conditioning in the house, only in the workshop and office during work hours during the summer. Lots of people who use air conditioning can certainly do just fine without it. We're all just super spoiled.
 

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The problem isn't air conditioning. The problem is how the energy is generated.<br><br><br><br>
Wikipedia has a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions" target="_blank">list</a> of countries that compare the GDP (how much is produced) to CO2 emissions.<br><br><br><br>
At the top of the list is Switzerland ($9,400 worth of goods/services for every ton of CO2), Sweden ($7,400/1t CO2), Iceland ($6,400/1t CO2), and France ($5,800/1t CO2).<br><br><br><br>
The US and Canada are much lower (about $2,000/1t CO2). At the bottom of the list are mostly poor countries such as Russia and China ($500/1t CO2).<br><br><br><br>
How does Switzerland have such a high ratio? Its how they produce their power: Hydroelectric (60%) and nuclear (40%).<br><br><br><br>
Sweden? Nuclear (49%), hydroelectric (40%), and a small amount of other renewables.<br><br><br><br>
Iceland? Hydroelectric and geothermal (99% combined).<br><br><br><br>
France? Nuclear (80%).<br><br><br><br>
Notice a trend? Admittedly, there are other factors involved, but one of the best ways to reduce CO2 emissions is not to create them in the first place. Sure, hydroelectric and nuclear power have some impact on the environment (loss of habitat, interference in animal migration, silting of rivers for hydroelectric, and waste disposal/heavy metals mining for nuclear), but their environmental footprint is much less than the alternatives. If proper safety measures are maintained (as first world nations have done), both also tend to have excellent safety records. Both have also proven themselves capable of reliably generating energy at a cost-effective price.<br><br><br><br>
If the US could even match France's ratio of GDP/CO2 levels, it would reduce CO2 emissions by 2/3rds. That's an impressive number, and a lot of that could be achieved by simply changing over to nuclear and hydroelectric power, with minimal or no impact on our lives and the way we live. Further gains could be realized by switching home heating from gas/oil to electric, and increasing the fuel efficiency of new cars.<br><br><br><br>
Wouldn't that be great?<br><br><br><br>
(Just another pro-nuclear post!)
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>das_nut</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
The problem isn't air conditioning. The problem is how the energy is generated.<br><br><br><br>
Wikipedia has a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ratio_of_GDP_to_carbon_dioxide_emissions" target="_blank">list</a> of countries that compare the GDP (how much is produced) to CO2 emissions.<br><br><br><br>
At the top of the list is Switzerland ($9,400 worth of goods/services for every ton of CO2), Sweden ($7,400/1t CO2), Iceland ($6,400/1t CO2), and France ($5,800/1t CO2).<br><br><br><br>
The US and Canada are much lower (about $2,000/1t CO2). At the bottom of the list are mostly poor countries such as Russia and China ($500/1t CO2).<br><br><br><br>
How does Switzerland have such a high ratio? Its how they produce their power: Hydroelectric (60%) and nuclear (40%).<br><br><br><br>
Sweden? Nuclear (49%), hydroelectric (40%), and a small amount of other renewables.<br><br><br><br>
Iceland? Hydroelectric and geothermal (99% combined).<br><br><br><br>
France? Nuclear (80%).<br><br><br><br>
Notice a trend? Admittedly, there are other factors involved, but one of the best ways to reduce CO2 emissions is not to create them in the first place. Sure, hydroelectric and nuclear power have some impact on the environment (loss of habitat, interference in animal migration, silting of rivers for hydroelectric, and waste disposal/heavy metals mining for nuclear), but their environmental footprint is much less than the alternatives. If proper safety measures are maintained (as first world nations have done), both also tend to have excellent safety records. Both have also proven themselves capable of reliably generating energy at a cost-effective price.<br><br><br><br>
If the US could even match France's ratio of GDP/CO2 levels, it would reduce CO2 emissions by 2/3rds. That's an impressive number, and a lot of that could be achieved by simply changing over to nuclear and hydroelectric power, with minimal or no impact on our lives and the way we live. Further gains could be realized by switching home heating from gas/oil to electric, and increasing the fuel efficiency of new cars.<br><br><br><br>
Wouldn't that be great?<br><br><br><br>
(Just another pro-nuclear post!)</div>
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sounds a bit naive <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> hydroelectric power has severe impacts on the environment, as has everything humans do on a large scale. there is no point in switching to another energy source. manipulating rivers has always led to severe flooding. look at europe, one record flood after the other.<br><br>
the only reasonable way is to endure the heat, be less spoiled, look at how people in traditionally hot regions like the sahara live. after all, it is evolution in action <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> those who cannot cope with the heat perish <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smoking.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smoke:">
 

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Many regions are not suited for either hydroelectric or nuclear, both of which require large amounts of water, a resource which will become scarcer due to global warming. Recently nuke plants had to be shut down in Europe because the rivers which cool the plants were getting too warm.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1833620,00.html" target="_blank">http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world...833620,00.html</a><br><br><br><br>
And of course the long term environmental problems associated with both hydroelectric and nuclear, none of which have solutions currently.
 

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Anyone here saying that we can/should do without AC should try coming to Arizona one summer...without AC... I'll be by to collect the ashes in August. teehee.<br><br>
Anyway it is HOT here. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sunny.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":sunny:"> As in, when it is 110 degrees or below, we get so excited about how "cool it's been" and "wow, i can go outside!". Seriously, a few weeks ago my mom told me all excitedly, "It's only going to be 109 out today!". I of course got excited too, and then laughed. It tends to be 115 degrees or more during June and July, so I am a big AC advocate, lol. I mean, obviously if I live somewhere where it's nice and cool and unnescessary, I'm not going to turn it on.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/santa2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":santa:"><br><br>
It is a shame that so much power is used, and I suppose the fact that if humans will die somewhere without air conditioning is a sign that we shouldn't live there, but what are you going to do?<br><br>
Plant more trees! Woohoo! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/dancingbanana.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":nana:">
 

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Flooding is more of a bad thing for people, not for nature.<br><br><br><br>
The more major problems I have with hydroelectric is that it disrupts migration paths, destroys habitat, and is a short-term solution due to silt problems.<br><br><br><br>
Nuclear also has a few problems (mining, heavy metal pollution, disposal of waste), but the environmental footprint is much less.<br><br><br><br>
All power generation will have some drawbacks, but some methods of power generation are superior to others, from an environmental viewpoint.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>das_nut</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Nuclear also has a few problems (mining, heavy metal pollution, disposal of waste), but the environmental footprint is much less.<br><br>
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I couldn't disagree with that more. The impact of nuclear power plants isn't small by any means.<br><br><br><br>
What about geothermal heating? To me, it seems like one of the best solutions, but it's rarely ever mentioned.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>KDB</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
sounds a bit naive <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> hydroelectric power has severe impacts on the environment, as has everything humans do on a large scale. there is no point in switching to another energy source. manipulating rivers has always led to severe flooding. look at europe, one record flood after the other.<br><br>
the only reasonable way is to endure the heat, be less spoiled, look at how people in traditionally hot regions like the sahara live. after all, it is evolution in action <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> those who cannot cope with the heat perish <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smoking.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":smoke:"></div>
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No thanks.<br><br>
I like my AC, and I see no reason to give it up.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>DreamWavez</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I couldn't disagree with that more. The impact of nuclear power plants isn't small by any means.<br><br><br><br>
What about geothermal heating? To me, it seems like one of the best solutions, but it's rarely ever mentioned.</div>
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I haven't looked that closely at it, but it seems to be location dependent with current technology. There just isn't that many locations where geothermal is cheap enough to compete with other energy sources.<br><br><br><br>
Otherwise, I have to agree that it is one of the best methods. It seems to be able to reliably deliver energy at low prices, something that solar and wind has been unable to do so far.<br><br><br><br>
Other than the mess that was Chernobyl, what do you mean that the impact of nuclear power plants isn't small?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MoonJumper</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It is a shame that so much power is used, and I suppose the fact that if humans will die somewhere without air conditioning is a sign that we shouldn't live there, but what are you going to do?<br></div>
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Humans lived in those parts of the continent for many thousands of years without air conditioning.<br><br><br><br>
"It's a shame we're killing our chances to continue living on this planet, but what are you going to do?"<br><br><br><br>
It's a shame.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Ludi</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Humans lived in those parts of the continent for many thousands of years without air conditioning.</div>
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They also lived for thousands of years without pollution-causing computers.<br><br><br><br>
I don't see anyone here willing to give that up.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MoonJumper</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It is a shame that so much power is used, and I suppose the fact that if humans will die somewhere without air conditioning is a sign that we shouldn't live there, but what are you going to do?</div>
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Revive indigenous building techniques that have been used to cool buildings in hot, arid areas for thousands of years. Thick-walled adobe buildings, earth-sheltered buildings, wind scoops, and water cooling all work. Put them together, and add some solar panels on top, and you could have a house whose need to pull power from the grid for AC is minimal to non-existent.
 

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Seriously, I am a very energy conscious person and do my best to reduce pollution (walk or ride my bike everywhere, even in this heat-stroke causing heat), but I highly doubt ANY of you have been to Arizona or the Sahara. Adobe huts my a**...On second thought, there wouldn't be a whole lot of obese people...or a whole lot of people at all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"> I hate it here and will move as soon as I turn 18, to a place far, far away where I won't need to use air conditioning and can use yummy fires in the winter, but I can't right now. and I really rather live. I mean, if people are dying from heat stroke in 80 degree weather in some parts(which is when we pull out our heavy winter jackets, lol), can you imagine trying to lead any type of modern lifestyle in our heat? "Winter" last for about a week in January, and the lowest temperature is in the mid-70s during the day. In January. At night if it's really cold it drops down to the 50s. So, yeah. Unless Arizonans and other desert dwellers become primitive, we need our A/C!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/penguin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":nigel:"><br><br>
P.S. In case everyone misinterprets my message, I have the A/C on at 78 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest. And I am all for using techniques to cut down on energy consumption, but I do stand by the fact that modern life would be impossible without A/C in deserts like this one.
 
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