On, Off or In Between? Air Conditioning

It's only just the first week of July and already we've experienced heat waves across the country. You've probably heard about it from your Twitter and Facebook friends. You've probably also noticed the rise in articles about whether air conditioning is a saving grace or just plain bad. Living in the midwest I've experienced the extreme swings of heat and cold, nonetheless, I know where I stand on the issue — what about you?I am thankful for air conditioning. Like many other technologies, air conditioning is something that I'm glad to have access to on a crazy hot summer day, and I realize that it's beneficial to many people and things, such as the train so that I don't arrive at work a sopping sweaty mess.

However, I generally am not a huge fan. It's loud and I don't necessarily like how it feels — it's an unnatural feeling of cool. Once it's on, usually I revert to be too cold. I grew up without air conditioning and have lived without it most of my life until moving into my current home. And I survived, no big deal. Most, if not all, of the places I've lived have had either ceiling fans or portable fans, or both, which I love. I much prefer the feeling of moving air, breezes, and natural ventilation if possible.

Air conditioning seems to be taken advantage of and is overused. Working in the architecture field, I know though, that much of our air conditioner use is in response to the way structures are built and the climates they're built in. Nowadays rather than utilizing climate-responsive design, buildings are going up all over the country that look and function exactly the same without any regard to the local climate.

I also believe that air conditioning use is a cycle. The more you use it, the more you need it, the more it stays on. You never adjust to the natural air temperature, so the heat feels hotter, and the conditioned air feels more necessary.

Where do you fall on the air condition spectrum? Keep it on, off, or somewhere in between?

More on the pros and cons of air conditioning across the web:
Your Air Conditioner Makes You Fat [Treehugger]
Air Conditioning Makes You Weak [Gawker]
Counterpoint: Air Conditioning Makes You Cool and Strong Like Fonzie [Gawker]
Should Air-Conditioning Go Global, or Be Rationed Away? [The New York Times]
Is Air Conditioning a Human Right? The New York Times Debates the Question [Treehugger]
Air Conditioning is a Symptom of Our Inflated Entitlement Complex [Treehugger]

(Image: Zsolt, Biczó/Shutterstock)

MORE A/C POSTS ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
8 Tips For A Cool Night's Sleep (Without the AC!)
Top 5 Ways to Lower Your A/C Use
Good Questions: A/C Or The Highway?
Who Gets Control of the Air Conditioner at Your House?
10 Ways To Save Energy When Air Conditioning Is A Must
5 Unexpected Benefits to Forgoing the Air Conditioner
Live Without: An Air Conditioner
9 Tricks to Beat the Heat (Without Turning Up the AC)

65 Comments