From Allison Arieff’s blog on the New York Times website:
Most of us simply trudge off to Best Buy or Circuit City as soon as temperatures spike and buy the most powerful thing we can afford, more concerned with sweating less than with altering the course of global warming. Air conditioners, those clunky, typically inefficient creatures, have gotten short shrift in the realm of energy efficient appliances: consumers have been well-educated about the cost- and energy-saving benefits of Energy Star-rated dishwashers, dryers and frontloading washers, but as common as central air is, the lowly air conditioner exists in our collective imagination as the hulking, droning, aesthetically challenging thing that it often still is.
A more human-centered design approach has resulted in some interesting alternatives, often focusing on maintaining a comfortable temperature for the individual rather than the whole house (or office). This approach abandons the premise of central air conditioning in favor of what is sometimes termed “personal climate control.” Both at home, where we tend to stay in certain areas for extended periods of time, and at work, where temperature control is often among the top five worker complaints, this idea makes good sense.
Or you could simply get a Big Ass Fan.
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