losingourcool

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

It’s spring in Australia, and the refrigerant is flowing

In A/C news on October 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm

As springtime blossoms in Australia, the nation’s air-conditioning industry is getting excited about projections of an extra-hot summer. Intense heat is predicted partly because the South Pacific’s climate is in its La Niña phase and also because the planet as a whole is heating up. In Losing Our Cool, I quote the May 6, 2008 issue of The Age on one study of Australia’s long-term warming trend:

“Air conditioners in offce buildings could collapse under increased heat loads as climate change takes hold and temperatures rise, according to a study carried out at Queensland University of Technology’s School of Engineering Systems. Lisa Guan says her computer model of indoor thermal environments and the cooling load imposed on air conditioners in offce buildings shows that most units would not cope under the more extreme circumstances  . . .  The results of Dr. Guan’s study were released as recent heatwaves in southern Australia sent sales of air conditioners skyrocketing  . . .  “If we do nothing, the cooling capacity of air conditioners will need to increase by up to 59%,” says Dr. Guan. “Obviously this is not feasible.”

But Australians are already reeling from sky-high electricity bills after an extra-chilly winter of 2010 that was made harsher by increased rates per kilowatt-hour. In light of that, one utility executive has recommended that Aussies think twice before purchasing “that big screen TV or air-conditioner.”

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