Air Conditioners and Global Warming

Samantha Zeitz

Air conditioners are designed to help keep you cool during summer’s heat but in fact contribute to it being hot outside. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison are saying that emissions from air conditioners are contributing to global warming.

By running our air conditioners we are increasing fossil fuel use and releasing more emissions into the atmosphere. According to their research, air conditioning could cause up to 1,000 additional deaths due to poor air quality in the Eastern United States alone. They looked at five different models to see how increased energy consumption during the summer will affect human health. Jonathan Patz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says there’s no doubt that air conditioning saves lives during heat waves however, the trade-off is worse air quality.

If you want to do your part to reduce emissions but also stay cool, check out the following tips:

• Make sure there’s a fan in every room. Ceiling fans work best.
• Keep curtains and windows closed to reduce heat from the sun
• Increase circulation by placing a window fan to suck out air with all bedroom windows and doors open.
• Find an energy-efficient air conditioner
• Install a light-coloured roof
• Improve insulation

Here’s what you can do for personal comfort:

• Drink water often
• Wear light coloured and loose fitting clothing
• Spend time on lower floors as heat rises
• Spend time near the water
• Find shade
• Cut down on sweets, caffeine and alcohol

While it is true that you may have to put a little more effort in to lower your contribution to global warming and still stay cool in hot conditions, its certainly sounds better than the alternative, which is gambling with your health.