Air Conditioning is the World’S Next Big Threat (Download PDF)

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Air conditioning has played a significant role in driving global prosperity and happiness over the past few decades by letting people work even in extreme hot conditions. According to the International Energy Agency because of the combination of population growth, rising incomes, falling equipment prices and urbanization, the number of air-conditioning units installed globally is set to jump from about 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by the middle of the century.

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  • Carbon dioxide emissions rose another 2 % in 2018 which was recorded as the highest in the past 7 decades.

  • Extreme weather led to more demand for air conditioning and heating in 2018.

  • In vicious cycle more hot weather begets ever more demand for air conditioning and thus even more need for power. That in turn means more emissions and even hotter temperatures.

  • Air-conditioning units funnel heat outside, exacerbating the so-called “urban heat island” effect, which makes cities warmer than the countryside.

  • The electricity demand from residential and commercial air conditioning is expected to increase by more than 140 % by 2050. This increase is comparable to adding the European Union’s entire electricity consumption. Air conditioning will represent 12.7 % of electricity demand by the middle of the century, compared to almost 9 % now.

  • In January 2019 when the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol came into effect with the aim is to phase out the use of potent greenhouse gases called hydro fluorocarbons, which are used widely in air conditioning systems. Unless substituted, these alone could cause 0.4C of additional warming by the end of the century.

Benefits

  • Improves comfort levels at work and at leisure.

  • Improves job performance.

  • Lowe temperatures ensure less sweating thereby reducing the risk of dehydration.

  • The presence of insects and parasites also get reduced with the low temperature.

  • A well installed and maintained air conditioning renews and improves air quality.

Drawbacks

  • The ambient noise results in noise pollution.

  • The respiratory system gets affected due to the sudden change in the humidity and temperature.

  • Airborne dust and fungi can cause allergic reactions.

  • Air conditioning can cause problems to contact lens wearers along with conjuctivitis and blepharitis.

Dos

  • One should regularly ventilate Air conditioned spaces.

  • Professional installation along with the maintenance is a must for both the centralized and individual units.

  • The room temperature should be maintained between 21 and 25 degree Celsius along with the average humidity between 60 and 70%.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 9, 2019

Environment/Ecology

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