Cooling Ourselves to Death

Have you noticed the trend toward excessive air conditioning?

Public places–theaters, restaurants and stores–here in Virginia are so cool we have to wear heavier clothes; my wife takes a sweater wherever she goes. A local art gallery is cooled to 68º during the summer and heated to 70º in the winter. When I asked the owner why, he said “the ladies” demand it. Do they?

Cool, dry air is a wonderful things. I remember life before universal air conditioning. The Southeast and Southwest were hard places to live. But turning our buildings into meat lockers wastes of money and energy. Even 75º feels cool here once the moisture is wrung out of the air.

How much could we cut fossil fuel usage if we moderated the cooling? Maybe we could reduce greenhouse emissions, not to mention helping our budgets, by turning the thermostat up a few degrees.


4 thoughts on “Cooling Ourselves to Death

  1. Agreed. I read something worrying two days ago. The heat index in Iran was 165 and 150 in India.
    Northwest is having a heat wave, similar temps to ours, but most don’t have a/c.

  2. I lived in central Saudi Arabia for a couple years. It’s not unusual for temperatures to get into the 120s. Along the Persian Gulf, a little humidity makes the slightly lower temperatures pretty hard to take. That may be why the “cradle of civilization” (Mesopotamia) was up river, not on the Gulf.

    Most folks here didn’t have a/c fifty years ago. Now that we have it, we assume we can’t live without it. I certainly wouldn’t want to, but we don’t set ours on “meat locker” either.

  3. We keep our AC on 80 most of the time, sometimes higher, sometimes a couple of degrees lower. We may drop it down a couple of degrees once the sun sets to pull the heat load out of the house, then we back it up to 80 again.

    I remember summers in Easton where we had just a window unit and we only ran it two weeks out of the year – the last week of July and the first week of August. The rest of the time, we used an attic fan at night to keep ‘cool’ – didn’t do much for the humidity, but at least there was a ‘breeze.’

    When Terry and I go to a movie, he always wears a long sleeve shirt because it so cold in the theatre.

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