|In which way do air conditioners contribute to
harm our environment and to global warming?|
|Question Date: 2016-10-21|
There are two ways that air conditioners can harm
the environment. The first way is if older types
of cooling fluid escape into the
atmosphere. These fluids, called CFCs (or
chlorofluorocarbons), react with ozone in the
atmosphere. This makes it harder for the ozone
layer to shield us from intense direct sunlight.
The good news is that countries around the
world have agreed to stop using CFCs and switch to
less harmful chemicals.
The second way that air conditioners affect the
climate is just by being run. An air conditioner
cools the air in the room it's used, but to do
that, it also heats something else even more
(usually air outside). Overall, they use
electricity and turn it into heat, just like
any other electrical machine. So, like most
things, you should use air conditioning in
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity.
The process for making electricity is what is bad
for the environment, so any device that uses a
lot of electricity is bad for the environment.
The majority of electricity is made from burning
fossil fuels such as oil and coal. When these
fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide
which is a greenhouse gas and therefore
contributes to global warming. The cooling
mechanism in an air conditioner could contain
chemicals that could be harmful to the ozone
layer, but most of these chemicals have been
discontinued. Also, if the air conditioner is
disposed of correctly, these chemicals shouldn’t
be an issue. Other than that, there is nothing
inherently harmful about an air conditioner.
If the electricity used to power the air
conditioner was from renewable sources such as
wind or solar, then it likely wouldn’t be bad for
the environment or contribute to global warming
The biggest way the air conditioners affect our
environment is the use of electricity. If an
air conditioned city uses a electricity from a
water dam or nuclear energy, then the impact would
be relatively low, however if the city uses coal
to generate the electricity then using the air
conditioner would have a bigger environmental
The state of California uses some hydro-electrical
and nuclear power sources, but mainly uses natural
gas to source electricity.
Air conditioners use energy and there is some
pollution when energy is produced. You want to
use an energy efficient air conditioner to
minimize this problem.
Air conditioners also produce heat. The energy
used to make cold air also makes some heat as
wasted energy, outside your house. Again, you want
to use an energy efficient air conditioner to
minimize this problem.
An ordinary electric fan is the best thing to cool
you in terms of the environment and global
warming. But if you need an air conditioner,
don't keep it on all the time, and keep the
temperature sort of warm, so you're not using too
much energy. Think about winter, when you like
the house warm.
Air conditioners have to get rid of heat, which
means they have to move heat somewhere else.
This requires the machines to do work, which
takes energy. That energy can be acquired from
an environmentally harmless source (such as solar
power), but more often they are powered by
electricity from coal-burning power plants.
Coal, as a fossil fuel, releases carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere when burned, thereby
contributing to global warming.
Air conditioners contain CFC's and HCFCs,
which are the cooling agents inside your AC.
These cooling agents can punch holes in our
ozone layer when they leak. Leaks in your air
conditioner can happen over time. These leaks not
only result in your ac no longer cooling, but also
release the ozone harming chemicals into the air.
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