Politics, Moderate



A Cool Idea Whose Time Has Come Again


I’m getting a whole-house attic fan installed this week - just like the one my father had installed in my childhood home - and I cannot wait to cool my house using his old-time methods.

I have nothing against air conditioning, mind you. I run my central unit on summer’s hottest days. I can’t imagine how unpleasant life was in Southern states before A/C brought relief.

Willis Haviland Carrier invented air conditioning in 1902. Initially used for industrial purposes, it was being used for comfort by the mid-1920s.

Department stores and movie houses were among the first to install A/C. Regrettably, the federal government soon followed.

Washington, D.C., is a hot, humid place in summertime. Before air conditioning, federal agencies routinely shut down when the temperature got too high, giving them that much less time to think up ways to spend our money.

In modern times, A/C is a rite of passage for the emerging middle class everywhere, particularly in developing countries.


Europe’s unbearable 2003 heat wave killed more than 30,000 people. That’s unconscionable in an era when a window A/C unit costs $99 at any big box store.

Some say A/C damages the environment, ironically causing the Earth to warm.

“As of 2009, nearly 90 percent of American homes have air-conditioners, which account for about 6 percent of all the country’s residential energy use,” reported The New York Times. “All that air-conditioning releases about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.”

A/C requires hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to cool the air. They leak from aging A/C units, and that is bad for the environment, too.


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Copyright 2020 Tom Purcell, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com



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