Air Conditioning Headlines from the Summer of 2016
September has arrived, and a change of seasons is under way. It’s that great time of year when we say goodbye to the 100-plus temperatures of summer and hello to Labor Day cookouts, football and other outdoor fun.
With temperatures moving back to the 80s, it’s also a great time to get a start on your big fall home improvement projects. Remember to make your appointment with your Daffan Mechanical tech to inspect and prepare your HVAC system for the winter.
With that reminder out of the way, it’s time for a look back at some air conditioning news that made headlines this summer. Here’s our roundup of the fascinating (and sometimes weird and wacky) AC news from the Summer of 2016:
Engineering researchers at Stanford University have created a plastic-based material that, when woven into clothing, can keep you much cooler than cotton or synthetic fabrics do today. Like cotton and other fabrics, Stanford’s cooling textile lets perspiration evaporate through the material. But it goes a step further by allowing body heat to pass through the fabric.
The researchers say the new fabric will make wearers feel 4 degrees Fahrenheit cooler compared to cotton clothing. Stanford engineering professor Yi Cui says the material could help people stay cool indoors without having to crank up the air conditioning. “If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy,” Cui said.
The Anti-Air Conditioning Movement
Washington Post writer Karen Heller sheds light on people like herself who have decided to forego air conditioning not just to save money, but because of “a variety of reasons beyond cost: environmental, aesthetic, nostalgic, social and cultural.” She cites a fellow from Tempe, Ariz. who somehow learned to live through a summer with temperatures of 103 degrees inside his home!
Heller admits life is harder without central air conditioning, but believes the rewards are great, such as the refreshing feeling of a cold shower or the taste of ice cream on a sweltering day. We Texans beg to differ. Washington summers are generally, slightly cooler than Texas summers – and by “slightly”, we mean alot!
No AC? Them’s Fighting Words!
Some Americans are saying no to air conditioning, but the concept isn’t going so well in Virginia, where some say the lack of air conditioning in about half the state’s prisons is causing inmates to fight and other problems. Inmate Delbert Sparks, speaking under a pseudonym, described the air in his prison as stifling, and portable fans only serve to push hot air around. He said it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep, and tired and grouchy inmates have turned to fisticuffs as an outlet for their frustrations.
“The comfort is more security-minded than comfort minded,” Sparks said in an interview with WVTF public radio. “Even as I stand here doing nothing more vigorous than speaking to you, even the people who are in the best of physical condition simply sweat while they’re doing nothing more than reading or playing cards.”