Ah, summer. It’s the perfect time for many exciting and nostalgic pastimes. Pool parties, BBQs, beach trips. Fun!
What’s not so fun? be sweaty. And, you guessed it, summer is the best time to sweat through your clothes. For this reason, it is extremely important to have an air conditioner that will at least keep you comfortable at home while the heat wreaks havoc on the rest of the outside world. But powerful air conditioners pose a not-so-small problem that many of us rarely consider: their impact on our environment.
July air conditioning is expensive but nice
Most air conditioners use fluorocarbons(opens in a new tab) (or HFCs) that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that are slowly depleting the Earth’s ozone layer. These devices also run on electricity, which is (mostly) derived from burning fossil fuels. As summers get hotter, CO2 emissions from greater AC use will skyrocket – accounting for 12% of total energy use(opens in a new tab) In the US, home air conditioners come as is.
What you may not have known is that there are a number of eco-friendly ways to stay cool during the hotter seasons. (Note: Most green air conditioners still use HFCs in their respective refrigerants, but they often contain significantly less than their traditional counterparts. Some green options, like the Windmill AC, use R-32 as the refrigerant, which contains far fewer fluorocarbons in comparison to the widespread 410a.)
Here’s what you need to know about buying:
BTU: This is an acronym you will see frequently throughout this summary. It stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s not just for the British, however; We also use it to measure energy consumption. In short, a BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So by tracking the BTUs of an AC unit, look at how much energy your unit can handle to heat or cool your space. The more BTUs, the more powerful the air conditioner – meaning it can change a room’s temperature faster and cover even more square feet.
Energy Star Certification: If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly air conditioner, sticking with one that’s Energy Star backed is probably your best bet(opens in a new tab) Label. Energy Star is a government-sponsored symbol denoting a product’s energy efficiency. In short, if you see the logo on an AC unit, you can definitely send it to the next round for consideration.
Important properties of the air conditioner:
Size: When it comes to AC units, size does Object. Choosing a device that is too small or too big for your living space can result in using more energy than you really need to keep your home comfortable. Not to mention your electric bill can skyrocket. whoops
Planning programs: Air conditioners with the option to program the unit’s internal thermostat are a great way to go green. Just set it to turn off when you’re not home, and that’s even more valuable energy saving you (and the planet).
Modification options: This one can get a bit more in the weeds, but if your air conditioner has the option to add more energy efficient modifications (like a hybrid heat pump(opens in a new tab)), which is a big plus. We recommend speaking to an air conditioning professional or licensed contractor to find out your options in this regard.