Is an air conditioner bad for the environment?

It’s time to do your part for the planet. Learn about the impact that air conditioning has on the environment and what you need to do to continue using these solutions responsibly.

Air conditioning is designed to keep environments cool and comfortable through the heat of the summer months. It’s a solution that many of us rely on to keep us motivated at work, happy at home or comfortable in a restaurant. However, the effects of using an air conditioning system on the environment might be more significant than you think.

In this article, we discuss the possible impact of air conditioning and explore some simple measures to help make your AC unit more efficient and greener.

How bad is air conditioning on the environment?

We can all relate to the comforts of our air conditioners in both summer and winter. It ensures our indoor workspaces are temperature-controlled and keeps us working efficiently. However, to keep us cool, there’s a price to pay.

The impact of air conditioning on the environment

  • Making your air conditioning unit just 1°C cooler can use an extra 10% of energy [Particle].
  • In 2018, 50% of Beijing’s power capacity was going to air conditioning [IEA].
  • The average air conditioner will consume about 3,000 to 5,000 watts of electricity every hour [ecomena].
  • Air conditioning is projected to use about 13% of all electricity worldwide and produce 2bn tonnes of C02 every year [IEA].

The damaging effects of air conditioning on the environment largely derives from the release of poisonous gases.

These gases come from the chemicals used for refrigerant, which is the working fluid used in the refrigerant cycle of air conditioning systems. Most commonly, these gases are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). They are known to be a part of the greenhouse gases that trap heat and lead to the depletion of the ozone layer.

The problem here is the hotter our environment gets, the more reliant we become on using our air conditioning systems. It’s an unfortunate endless cycle. But the good news is there are solutions to minimise the impact of air conditioning on the environment.

How to make an air conditioning unit more environmentally friendly?

Air conditioning environmental impact #1:

Toxic Refrigerants
Refrigerants operate in a closed-loop. In more simple terms, the chemical compound shouldn’t cause issues if the AC unit works properly. Nevertheless, refrigerants can and will leak if improper care of equipment is taking place. Inappropriate AC disposal may also cause a leak of refrigerant and such polluting the atmosphere without anyone even realising.

What we can do about toxic refrigerants:

  • Buy an AC unit that uses one of the safest types of refrigerants. We recommend a system that uses R32 refrigerant. Lucky for you, we can install and service this system and refrigerant.
  • Take care of your AC properly to prevent refrigerant leakage.
  • If you no longer use the air conditioning unit, make sure you dispose of it accordingly, or more preferably, let the specialists at Mid-Tech handle this for you. 0121 709 3607 |

Air conditioning environmental impact #2:

Thermal Pollution
Air conditioning systems work by taking the excess heat out of our indoor environments and releasing it outside. The issue with this is that our outside temperatures will get warmer. The more air conditioning units there are, the warmer the local environment will be. Again, this will result in people becoming more dependant on AC, and the endless cycle continues.

What we can do about thermal pollution:

  • Optimise the natural ventilation of your indoor environment to minimise the need for artificial temperature control.
  • Contact the Mid-Tech team for bespoke ventilation system installation to keep indoor air fresh and clean.
  • Utilise small mobile fans before turning your air conditioning unit on.

Install a programable thermostat to ensure your AC is only operating when completely necessary.

Air conditioning environmental impact #3:

Fossil Fuel Emission
Like most things, AC units need electricity to operate. A vast amount of electrical power is a result of coal burning. Carbon emissions from said coal-burning can lead to greenhouse gas emissions. Now, we are not suggesting you cut out the use of electricity because that isn’t possible.

However, using clean energy such as solar, wind or hydro, are fantastic ways to reduce your carbon emissions. Although we understand the implementation of these energy sources can be very costly and difficult.

What we can do about fossil fuel emissions:

  • Buy an air conditioning unit that is energy efficient, such as a split system. Read this guide to find out what the perfect AC system is for you.
  • Replace your outdated air conditioning unit with a much more efficient system.
  • Schedule routine maintenance at least twice a year to keep the system in the best possible condition.

Benefits of modern day air conditioners

New technology:

Old air conditioning systems had a considerable impact on the environment, with the chemicals chosen for the refrigeration process being responsible for ozone-eroding emissions. Critically, modern air conditioning units utilise variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or variant refrigerant volume (VRV) technology. This tech limits the amount of energy consumption to what is necessary and appropriate to the building in which they are installed.

Running hot and cold:

Another advantage of modern air-conditioning units is their ability to blow hot air as well as cold. This means, in a properly regulated home or business, they remove the need for central heating to warm the building. As a result, this improves savings in energy emissions (not to mention costs)! This is because the energy required to heat the water for a central heating system exceeds the same heat produced by an air conditioning unit by quite a way.

Play your part: Minimise the impact of air conditioning on the environment today

It turns out that the effects of an air conditioner on the environment are bigger than just a higher bill at the end of the month. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your comfort. The key is to only invest in a quality air conditioning unit and choose an environmentally conscious expert to install and maintain it.

Here at Mid-Tech Services, we pride ourselves on the energy efficiency of our air conditioning units. Therefore, we are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of our own company, as well as that of our customers.

If you are unsure about your current system, have any questions relating to air conditioning, or simply want to know how Mid-Tech can support you with a bespoke solution, get in touch today.

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