Evaporate Not Refrigerate!

Most people don't see the ecological damage they're partly responsible for by using air conditioning and not evaporative cooling technology they could use to stay cool when that option is available to them. While those living in high humidity climates may not be able to make use of this low energy alternative to keep their homes and workplaces cool in summer, those living in low humidity climates have no excuse!

The ecological damage I'm talking about is simply the excessive and often unnecessary overuse of electricity to run big power hogging AC devices when the climate allows for the use of much cheaper, lower energy swamp coolers.

Getting Things Into Perspective

electricity pylonsSure, one family or small office running AC might not seem like much. But when it's multiplied by thousands upon thousands of buildings all running AC when they could be running evaporative coolers to achieve an equal cooling effect, I think you can see the problem.

Doing a simple comparison brings the shocking truth home to most people who are able to see what's in front of them and figure things out for themselves. Take this very simple, yet realistic example:

Let's take one average size family home and pluck a figure out of thin air just to demonstrate how this works. This is calculated assuming an average 1/20th power consumption figure of evap cooling compared to AC:

Of course, the true summer cost for your home may be a lot higher than this, but this is just a hypothetical example, remember? Now multiply that by 10,000 similar homes in a small town:

I think you can see the staggering difference in the cost of power between the two cooling methods if applied to a small town in a low humidity climate area. But it goes further than just dollar costs.

Damaging the Ecology to Produce Power

electricity generating ststaionEvery single day we do irreparable damage to our ecology by generating electricity to power our homes and make life comfortable for ourselves. We take it all for granted of course, but we shouldn't!

It's quite difficult to get our heads around the staggering volume of fuel that is needed to generate enough electricity to power 10,000 air conditioned homes or offices. The example figure of $9m is actually very small when you scale it up nationwide.

But just so that it's not so enormous we simply would not be able to comprehend in our minds the sheer volume of fuel needed to run the country as a whole, I've scaled it down to the much smaller $9m figure so we have somewhere to start from.

To generate that much electricity for that cost at today's prices takes several aircraft hanger's worth in volume of solid fuel (coal) which many of our power stations still burn to generate electricity.

The Staggering Losses

What hurts more than anything is in knowing that more than half of all that electricity never gets to anyone's homes or offices! It's lost along the wires that transport the power from the generating station to its final destination in what is known as "resistance."

Yep, over half of all the electricity generated gets lost to the cables that it flows along because of the natural resistance they have. It's not conjecture either. It's one of the laws of physics!

So if a station is generating say 20 megawatts of energy, only 10 megawatts reaches the appliances that use it including our precious air conditioners!

Is that not a truly staggering fact? It sure is, but here's an even more staggering observation that would make any devoted member of Greenpeace just break down and cry:

Over half the raw fuel used in the generation process is burned for nothing! All that coal that's mined from deep in the earth by the sweat and hard labor of the miners that bring it to the surface is simply wasted.

If you remember your physics classes from school, I'm sure you'll remember the lessons on conduction, Ohm's Law and the resistance present in a given thickness of wire over a certain length. I guess most people have forgotten them and I'm sure the authorities would prefer they stay forgotten or a lot of people might get pretty mad if they knew about it, even though there's not much can be done about it.

You can't change the laws of physics!

But you CAN change the way you choose to keep yourself cool in summer. You can stop wasting so much electricity on fixed, ducted or hoseless air conditioning when it's not necessary. And it's not necessary when the much cheaper, low energy cooling solution of devices that use the method of evaporation to produce cold air is available to you when you live in a low humidity climate.

Isn't it time you got sensible and took action to save yourself a massive stack of money each summer while helping the environment you live in? You can, you know. You just have to make the decision to do it.

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