How to Make Air Conditioning More Energy Efficient

Reader Contribution by Ruth Barton
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According to research, the U.S has used more energy for air conditioning than all other nations combined — vehicle air conditioners in the U.S alone use 7 to 10 billion gallons of gasoline annually. However, demand for air conditioning is dramatically increasing in other warmer regions and it is possible that world consumption of energy for cooling could explode tenfold by 2050, having a major impact on climate change. For instance, China is expected to surpass the U.S as the world’s biggest user of electricity for air conditioning by 2020.

If global consumption for cooling grows as projected, it will have a significant negative impact on the world’s environment. Air conditioning releases poisonous gases in to the environment, thus contributing to global warming and making the climate warmer. Furthermore, the power to run air conditioned consumes fossil fuels, further contributing to global warming. The air conditioning process is a vicious cycle — while we use air conditioning to cool us down, we are contributing to making the world’s climate warmer, meaning that air conditioning continues to be needed with increased demand.

However, although these statistics may seem shocking, there are things that can be done to reduce the impact that air conditioning has on the environment.

Replace Inefficient Air Conditioners

Figures from 2009, revealed that 10.1 million homes had cooling equipment that predates the first federal efficiency standards which is likely to use more than twice as much energy as equipment being manufactured today. It is likely that many U.S. homes still have these types of air conditioners therefore, in order to reduce the number of carbon emissions significantly, U.S citizens should replace their air conditioners so that they meet the efficiency standards.

Before getting an air conditioner installed, individuals should complete research to ensure that they select an air conditioning installation company that considers the environment. For instance, EOC Services, who install air conditioning in Cambridge, can help individuals to reduce their environmental impact by installing an approved air conditioning system which will assist in reducing the cost of their waste management and make savings in consumption of energy.

Sizing Air-Conditioning Systems

It is also important to get a professional survey completed of the property before an air conditioner is installed, so that they can take into consideration individual requirements. For example, if the system is undersized, it will need to work extra hard meaning that it will use much more energy and will shorten the system’s life span. On the other hand, oversizing the system can lead to greater energy use and poor quality operation. Therefore it is vital to get the right air conditioner to ensure that the air conditioner delivers the best performance possible.

If an air conditioning unit is installed outside, it is vital to check that it has insulation around the pipes so that the air conditioning unit doesn’t cool the outside air rather than the building, as this is not only a complete waste of energy but also very bad for the environment. It is equally important for buildings to be well insulated, as it can prevent the building from warming up so quickly during the day and therefore reduce the length of time that an air conditioner needs to be used for, saving people money on the energy bill and significantly reducing their carbon footprint.  

Servicing and Maintaining an Air Conditioner

Although it is common practice for Americans to have routine service or maintenance performed on their automobiles, just 42 percent do the same for their central air conditioning systems. It is essential to regularly get air conditioners serviced because even the latest air conditioning systems with the best insulation will be inefficient if it is improperly serviced. What’s more, it is important to regularly clean the fans and heat exchangers as this can increase efficiency by around 40% as well as increase the air conditioners life span.

Finally, it is important to use air conditioning systems in an appropriate way – simple things such as shutting doors and windows when the air conditioning unit is in use, as well as using blinds and recommended operating temperatures will all significantly help to increase the efficiency of the air conditioner unit and reduce the amount of harmful gases being released.

Overall, if everyone followed the points listed above, air conditioning would be a much more energy efficient process and would significantly reduce people’s carbon footprints in the U.S as well as other regions of the world where demand for air conditioning is increasing.

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