A tribute and caution to the humble AC

Did you know that today marks the beginning of National Air Conditioning Appreciation season? Modern residential air conditioning as we know it began in the 1920s and helped facilitate the great migration to the Sun Belt. Air conditioners make summers much more comfortable and continue to save countless lives, especially among the sick and elderly who struggle to cope with the effects of high temperatures. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine summer without them.

But for all the good ACs have done for us there’s also a flip side – ACs consume a lot of energy. America uses more electricity for cooling than Africa uses for everything. Almost 90% of American households run ACs, which significantly contribute to the average annual US energy bill of $2,000, while emitting over 100 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

As President Obama recently highlighted in his Earth Day speech, global warming is real. 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred in the 21st Century, with 2014 being the hottest of them all. Furthermore, the continued rise of global incomes is resulting in a tremendous growth and demand for air conditioners. According to a recent study by the University of Yale, a tenfold increase of energy consumption for cooling could happen by 2050, driven primarily by the developing world.

The increasing use of air conditioning also has the somewhat ironic cyclical effect of making our cities warmer. The hotter our cities get the more AC we use, the more AC we use the more hot air they pump out. Studies have shown that ACs can raise a city’s temperature by over 2°F in the summer.

For those who are concerned about global warming and their energy bill, but need air conditioning, there is a solution. With new smart technology becoming ever more available a huge opportunity has arisen to reduce our AC use without sacrificing our cool homes.

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows smart technology to be applied to everyday home devices and products such as air conditioners for better energy efficiency. The aim of this technology is to automate and ensure that our homes are only cool when they need to be, while always saving energy when we’re away.

This can be achieved through the use of our phone’s location by automatically switching off the AC when all of the residents have left the house and switching it back on when the first person heads home. Smart AC controls save money and energy, allow for flexible schedules and serve those who want to ensure that their home is already cool once they step through the front door. Studies have shown this can reduce AC use by up to 40% and works equally well for those whose priority is a cool and comfortable home as well as for those whose primary concern is living sustainably.

Sounds cool huh, if you would like to know more about smart AC technology and what it can do for you click here.