Air Conditioning: Is It a Valuable Commodity or a Waste of Energy?

We all know how fabulous the feeling of air conditioning can be. Whether we’re sat in a traffic jam and have been for hours with only the air con and a static radio station for company, or we’re hard at work at the office as the heatwave continues outside, air-con can be a much-loved piece of equipment at home, on the road and at work – everywhere in your life, really. In fact, when we go away to hotter climes, we almost expect air-con to be part of the hotel room and if it’s not, we really wonder why! If we in the UK depend on aircons, how do people in warmer countries survive the long summer?

That being said, in the UK where a heatwave lasts no more than a month without a break, do we really need to rely on air-conditioning or can we cope without it? Well, of course we can cope without it! We do, in most cases. It’s only when it’s available that we feel like we should make use of it. Using it becomes the most obvious thing, without even thinking about the financial and environmental consequences.

setting-ac-temperatureWhile an air-con unit in the home is nothing short of luxury (an unnecessary luxury, at that), reserved for those who are extremely hot blooded and can’t cool down even with every door and window open or those that need their home to be cooler than required due to having some sort of exceptional reason such as running a server rig that needs to be kept cool, in the workplace, an air conditioning unit almost comes as standard.

As the summer season hits, the air-con is flicked on without thinking about it and the heating is turned off but what does that do to the business’ fuel bill? During heat waves we tend to forget, but let’s spend some time thinking about it: Air conditioning units are massive drains on resources and, as a consequence, the electricity bill will skyrocket – especially if the unit is kept on for the duration of the working day. Is it worth the extra money? Probably not – especially in an office environment or similar, where physical labour is none existent and windows and doors can be opened to allow the air to circulate.

Obviously, the need for air-con will depend largely on individual circumstance. When you’re at home, living in the UK, it can probably be deemed a waste of money, just like overuse in an office can, too. But elsewhere? The value of the system may outweigh the cons of using it – a business owner should be able to evaluate the need before investing in one.

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