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Are you dependent on air conditioning?

Categories: Canada, Community


UPDATE, July 17:
Air conditioner manufacturer Willis Carrier is marking the 110th anniversary of the invention today. On July 17, 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier finished the first schematic drawing for a machine that could control the amount of humidity in the air within a building.

Carrier was working at the Buffalo Forge Company at the time and its client, the Sackett & Wilhelms Lithography and Printing Company of Brooklyn, N.Y., needed to lower the humidity in its printing plant.

The invention would later be patented as the Buffalo Air Washer and Humidifier.

Original post, July 6:

When meteorologists warn of record-breaking temperatures, heat waves and humidity, many Canadians respond by cranking up the air conditioning.

Although there are ways to stay cool without cooling systems, it can be difficult to resist the urge to hit a button and be instantly refreshed.

But some argue we should not take this modern convenience for granted.

In his book Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World, author Stan Cox argues that the air conditioner is overused and abused.

He points out that there are several benefits to cooling off outdoors and using your body's own mechanisms for beating the heat.

He also lists the social and environmental costs of keeping our homes and businesses artificially cool, such as the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Air conditioning has also been an important tool in creating a society shot through with unsustainable trends [...such as] buildings designed for dependence on high energy input," writes Cox.

Roughly 6,000 homes in Toronto were reminded of that strain on Thursday, as a power outage left them without power on a hot night.

Residents are now being asked to ease off on the air conditioning, even though the city is expecting a record-breaking day of heat Friday.

Several commenters seemed willing to sweat it out.

  • "If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. Cranking the AC and leaving your home is just going to tax the grid even more. Use cold showers and electricity sparingly (fan). Or you might be sitting in the dark for eight hours like the people did downtown last night." - Fung Chang
  • "Air conditioning shouldn't be allowed everywhere. If people don't want to 'ease off the air conditioning' then force them." - CanAidEeeAn

Others were far less willing to power off. In a previous post about air conditioning, some readers were unapologetic in their use of the modern wonder.

  • "Yup, I love it. It's cool in my place. I couldn't care less about what my a/c is doing to the environment." - S. Leblanc
  • "I prefer cold environments... and thus, yes, I always turn on the AC during summer. I don't know how some people survive without it." - cain-lawrence

Do you have air conditioning at home? If so, would you consider yourself dependent on it?
Why or why not?

If you don't have air conditioning, what are your tips for keeping cool? Did you consciously decide not to install a system?

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)

Tags: Canada, weather

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