Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cool the Kilowatts While Keeping Cool

If you live in the Great Lakes Region, you are no doubt recovering from the inaugural hit of +40 humidity that descended upon us last week.

During the last of those sticky days, I boasted to a friend that Jane and I are eschewing central air conditioning, relying on fans and drawn drapes to keep our place…less hot. After making this boast, I came home to a house in full-air conditioned blast. Poor Jane succumbed.

And really, can you blame her? It was reaching a point when you could slow cook food in our upstairs bedrooms.

Air conditioners keep the edge off but they are a devil when it comes to energy. In fact, during the time I made my boast of resisting the a/c, I was celebrating my current Toronto Hydro bill. Jane and I expended less than 400 kilowatts from April to June. I’ve been told that the average Ontarian expends 1000 kilowatts per month (the average New Yorker, 600). The average air conditioner user gobbles about 1,400 kilowatts per month.

I wrote about air conditioning in one of my installments a year ago. Not a bad idea to cover it again. Here are a few tips to help keep your place comfy while keeping your kilowatts to a dull roar.

· Use you’re a/c only when you feel like you’re about to expire. Otherwise, use fans and cover south facing windows during the day and open them at night to let the air circulate.
· You don’t need to recreate artic conditions in your home. After all, why live in winter when it’s summer? When the a/c is on, set it for 25 degrees Celsius.
· Please ensure that your air conditioner is running efficiently. Clean the air filter once a season and have it inspected from time to time. Also, make sure your windows are sealed properly.
· If you are shopping for an a/c, absolutely ensure that it is Energy Star certified. Never buy used when it comes to air conditioners as they are less efficient than newer models.
· If you visit at shop or restaurant that’s blasting it’s a/c, yet its door is propped open, please ask the clerk or manager to close the door. If you live in Ontario, let them know about Doors Closed, a program run by the Conservation Council of Ontario.
· If you live in a house that’s south facing, plant a deciduous tree in the front yard. It will keep your home cool in the summer. In the winter when the leaves are gone there will be no barrier to ensuring that the sun warms your south facing room.

In the News

6,000-year-old Arctic ponds drying out
Another canary in the mine. Why care about disappearing ponds in the artic? The life in those ponds play a vital role in fragile artic ecosystems. Now they are on the threshold of collapse.

It may not be Woodstock, but where will you be when Al Gore rocks out (and more importantly what will you be wearing – hemp, bamboo or organic cotton)?

Other News

Green Bloggers

Ecoshock Radio

Grist Magazine

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

BBC – The Greenroom

New York Times – Environment

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know I'm being picky but I'd like to correct the terminology in your blog. When you say that you use a number of kilowatts in a given period I think you mean kWh (kilowatt-hours).

Here is an explantion of the difference between kW and kWh: