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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Air Conditioning: Cooling People While Heating the World

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, climate change, global warming, air conditioning, energy, design, green living, whole-house fans, ceiling fans, Losing Our Cool,

Air conditioners

It’s the season of air conditioning in the Northern Hemisphere, which means spiking energy demands. Environmental writer Stan Cox breaks down just what this means in his book Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer), which came out in spring from The New Press.

German researchers, he reports, have projected that because of global warming and rising populations, cooling demand will rise by 65 to 72 percent in the next four decades. Writes Cox:

So what are we supposed to do, shut off our units and sweat it out? Cox covers the myriad ways that policy, design, and architecture can help create a less AC-addicted society, but also suggests that we might need to readjust some of our most treasured notions of comfort:

Anyone looking to cool their home sans AC should check out the articles and blog posts on whole-house fans and ceiling fans by our sister publication, Mother Earth News. And over at our other sibling, Natural Home, editor Robyn Griggs Lawrence has just written about a superefficient new air conditioner design that’s still five years from market but offers hope that on this subject cooler heads may yet prevail.

Sources: Losing Our Cool, Mother Earth News, Natural Home

Image by ToddMorris, licensed under Creative Commons.