Widely circulated in the United States, criticized in Europe, coveted in South Asia, Air conditioning has become a topic of global debate. For better or worse, it is one of the most widespread adaptation solutions in a world facing increasingly severe heat waves.
Climate change is causing global temperatures to rise, and with it, the need for air conditioning to keep homes and workplaces comfortable. In fact, the use of air conditioners is expected to grow significantly in the coming decades, especially in developing countries and regions with hot climates.
Air conditioning has gone from a luxury to a necessity for many, with experts saying it can keep them surviving the sweltering summer months. However, while air conditioners provide immediate relief to users, they can be costly when it comes to the global climate, and everything points to air conditioners being a constant companion for the next generation.
But while air conditioning is essential for comfort in many climates, it also has a major impact on the environment and health.and Its demand is growing due to climate change Energy consumption associated with economic development is projected to increase, which could further exacerbate atmospheric changes and air pollution.
From a health standpoint, using an air conditioning system can lead to respiratory problems and other ailments, especially if the system is not maintained properly or used in extreme temperatures. Sudden changes in temperature may trigger respiratory illnesses, especially in people with pre-existing respiratory illnesses. Additionally, air conditioning systems can harbor and spread viruses and bacteria if not maintained properly.
Despite these challenges, there are reasons for optimism. Advances in solar cooling technology can reduce the energy consumption associated with air conditioning, thereby reducing its impact on climate change and air pollution. These types of technologies can also bring economic benefits, reducing energy costs for homes and businesses.
The Air Conditioning Dilemma: Comfort vs. Comfort Environment
The power plants that power these devices release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, exacerbating the problem of global warming and even changing the color of the oceans. Air conditioning of living spaces emits approximately 1 billion tons of CO2 per yearGlobal emissions total 37 billion tons, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
However, experts believe it is possible to break this vicious cycle by developing renewable energy, less energy-intensive air-conditioning and other refrigeration technologies.
Finding Sustainable Solutions: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
“Some purists think we shouldn’t be using air conditioning at all, but I don’t think it’s feasible,” said Robert Dubrow, director of Yale University’s Center on Climate Change and Health. The use of air conditioning saves tens of thousands of lives every year, and according to the International Energy Agency, that number is growing.
Global air conditioning penetration is low, with only about 15 percent of the 3.5 billion people living in hot climates having access to these devices. However, the number of air conditioners globally is set to soar due to rising temperatures and rising incomes.
The Future of Air Conditioning: Prospects and Challenges
estimate Share of air-conditioned households in India could rise from 10% to 40% by 2050, which will significantly reduce people’s exposure to high temperatures. However, the additional electricity required would be equivalent to the annual production of a country like Norway.
Air conditioners typically use refrigerant gases (HFC types), which when released are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in heating the atmosphere. Air conditioning also exacerbates the urban heat island effect by venting warm air onto the streets, raising nighttime temperatures in city centers by as much as 1°C.
Equity and Conditions: Socioeconomic Challenges
The cost of air conditioning prevents many homes from enjoying this relief from the heat. Even if they can afford the equipment, the price of electricity can force them to choose between cooling and other basic needs.
Air conditioning presents a dilemma between the necessary adaptations to deal with heat waves and the environmental impact of its use. Experts believe the solution may lie in increasing renewable energy, developing efficient and affordable air conditioning, and stricter energy efficiency policies.
Warnings about health and air conditioning
Using Air Conditioning Can Have Serious Health Effects If not kept at the correct temperature or not maintained properly. In these pages on Excelsior in 2016, respiratory medicine specialist Dr. Alberto López-Bascope warned of the risks, including the potential for air conditioning systems to carry viruses such as influenza and cause bronchospasm in patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
Lopez-Bascop emphasized that sudden changes in temperature can have negative effects, even in people without respiratory illnesses. Symptoms may include sinusitis, which can lead to ear conditions such as otitis media and eventually chronic sinusitis.
According to experts, the respiratory system activates a defense mechanism against cold air, inflaming the sinuses in an attempt to compensate for the entry of cold air. This process can cause respiratory problems and promote the growth of viruses and bacteria. Therefore, the maintenance of the air conditioner filter is very important to health.
Advances in Solar Cooling
The Culiacan Institute of Technology (ITC), Sinaloa, in collaboration with other institutions, Solar air conditioning system under development Since 2017. The prototype uses solar energy to cool the room, aiming to reduce energy consumption.
The system uses water heated to 90 to 100 degrees Celsius by solar collectors and cooled by a mixture of lithium nitrate and ammonia. This approach differs from traditional electric air conditioning systems and has the potential to be more energy efficient.
The system has also been tested in the field of food refrigeration. Project researchers are considering patenting the system and hope to eventually create more compact, automated products suitable for residential and industrial use.
It looks disastrous but we’re on time
However, despite the global outlook, we are not necessarily “destined” to live with air conditioning forever. There are a number of strategies we can employ to reduce our reliance on air conditioning:
Passive building design: Take advantage of natural airflow when designing buildings and homes, insulation and sunlight exposure, we can reduce the need for air conditioning. This can involve things like strategically placed windows, proper shading, reflective roofs and surrounding greenery.
High Efficiency Cooling Technology: Advances in cooling technology can make air conditioners more energy efficient, reducing their impact on the environment. This includes developing solar-powered air conditioning systems or improving the efficiency of conventional systems.
Behavior Change: Culture and behavior can also play a role in reducing our dependence on air conditioning. This may include acclimating to higher indoor temperatures, wearing thermally appropriate clothing, and changing work hours to avoid the hottest times of the day.
Climate Change Mitigation: Last but not least, fighting climate change can help slow the rise in global temperatures, thereby slowing down the need for air conditioners.this means Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources, Improve energy efficiency and protect and restore natural ecosystems that absorb carbon.
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