Air conditioning tips - Air conditioners
Air conditioning is the dehumidification of indoor air for thermal comfort. In a broader sense, the term can refer to any form of cooling, heating, ventilation, or disinfection that modifies the condition of air. An air conditioner (often referred to as AC or air con.) is an appliance, system, or machine designed to stabilise the air temperature and humidity within an area (used for cooling as well as heating depending on the air properties at a given time), typically using a refrigeration cycle but sometimes using evaporation, commonly for comfort cooling in buildings and motor vehicles.
The concept of air conditioning is known to have been applied in Ancient Rome, where aqueduct water was circulated through the walls of certain houses to cool them. Similar techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season. Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier.
Air conditioning is essential to maintain comfort levels and productivity in hot humid tropical climates like India. Airconditioners have become ubiquitous in most of the middle class and upper crest households these days. Air conditioners consume probably 80 % of the electricity used in a typical house in India. We have collated some detailed information in this page on air conditioning systems and the best way to save on money.
Air conditioners - Primary Use: Air conditioning helps to dehumidify the air. Air conditioning works by first removing moisture from the air and then cooling it. This in turn reduces the incidence of mold and fungus. Dehumidification and lower temperatures reduce the growth of some molds and fungus by eliminating warm, moist areas in the home.
Tropical climates imply high humidity level, which makes it hard for the human skin to evaporate the sweat. Coastal regions like Chennai require the use of airconditioners almost all through the year. All commercial establishments and homes use air conditioners (or AC in India and Aircon in Malaysia / Singapore) to improve the comfort factors and enhance the operating life of machinery and electronic equipment.
Different people require different temperature settings for comfort. We feel comfortable when our bodies lose heat at the same rate as we produce it. Heat production varies with physical activity and our metabolic rates. At the same time, heat loss or heat gain depends on surface temperatures in the room, air movement and air temperature. What all this means is that your comfort factor depends on a lot of factors - one of which is the temperature. Living inside a deep freezer is not for the living!
The Department of Energy in the United States estimates that nearly 40% of your energy loss is the result of air infiltration caused by wind driven pressures from the outside. "The opposing forces of pressure between your inside and outside walls cause heat and air conditioning to be virtually sucked from your home - through walls, ceilings, sill plates, sheathing joints, top plates, electrical outlets and every inch of the estimated half-mile of cracks in newly constructed homes". As air infiltrates, it causes changes in temperature that requires your air conditioner to work harder. Constant temperature fluctuations also reduce your comfort level. You feel too cold or too warm. Reducing air infiltration increases your home's comfort factor.
Building a positive pressure in your air-conditioned rooms aids the retention of the cooled air in addition to making the air-filter less prone to clogging. Generally, a slight increase in positive pressure in a room tends to block the ingress of dust and insects through the crevices.
Excessive positive and negative air pressures in a building can move moisture-laden air through holes in the building shell, leading to condensation within building cavities. Building experts have observed pressure-derived moisture problems at only ±1 Pascal (.004 inches of water column) during severe humidity conditions.
But for maximum power saving, it is important to seal effectively all the air leaks in the airconditioned room. This prevents not only the entry of dust, but also maintains the low humidity level. A dry air can draw more perspiration from the body improving the comfort factor. You could keep the thermostat fairly turned up and still feel relatively cool.
Factors to consider before buying an Airconditioner:
- Air Filtering and Cleaning Features
- Convenient Controls
- Noise Levels
- Environmental Protection Features.
Amongst the most important considerations are size and energy efficiency. These days many people prefer split units to reduce the internal noise levels. Window type airconditioners generally produce more noise level inside. A properly sized, highly energy-efficient air conditioner will provide you with optimal comfort for a reasonable cost.
Size refers to the air conditioner's cooling capacity measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), which in turn refers to the amount of heat that will be removed per hour. Air weighs .076 lbs per cubic feet or 34.47 gms per cubic feet at sea level at standard temperature.
A 5,000 BTU window air conditioner will remove 5,000 BTUs of heat per hour. A 'one-ton' air conditioner will remove 12,000 BTUs per hour while a two-ton airconditioner will remove 24000 BTU per hour.
If you buy an air conditioner that is too small, the unit will be overworked trying to pump out more cool air than is possible and will eventually fail. On the other hand, an air conditioner that is too large will cool off the room too quickly and the humidity will hang in the air, leaving you clammy and chilly. Consider the number of human occupants likely to occupy in that room and other factors like insulation of the roof, the number of windows and the machinery installed in that room before you arrive at the tonnage of the airconditioner.
Saving Electricity: In a typical south Indian house, airconditioners consume 80 % of the total power used. So any measure in improving the efficiency or the usage can considerably save on the power bill. An air-conditioner is designed for long-term use. Therefore, long-term running costs, based on minimum use of 7 to 10 years, is a more important factor than the initial price when determining real economical efficiency.
Energy Efficiency Rating: The energy efficiency rating (EER) of an air conditioner is its BTU rating over its wattage. For example, if a 10,000-BTU air conditioner consumes 1,200 watts, its EER is 8.3 (10,000 BTU/1,200 watts). Obviously, you would like the EER to be as high as possible, but normally a higher EER is accompanied by a higher price. The present crop of airconditioners from the leading brands sport EER of 9.0 .
Better Thermal Insulation: A false ceiling with better heat insulation efficiency can reduce as much as 20 % power bills. In addition adding insulating material on the walls with low K - value will also bring down the number of hours the compressor runs - enhancing economy. The k-value, or heat transfer coefficient, is the measured value of the heat flow, which is transferred through an area of 1 m² at a temperature difference of 1 K.
A typical brick wall has a K value of 1.388 and polyurethane foam has a value of 0.028. The surface treatment like paint and the finish can have a bearing on this too. Adding reflective sun control films on the glass panes improves the energy efficiency.
A bed room ac can be "programmed" to slacken off the thermostat (sleep mode) setting towards the morning. When you retire to bed in the night, you might need lower temperature setting than in the early morning. Or set the timer in the control panel of an Airconditioner to switch itself off towards the morning - a few hours before you wake up. If you have a one ton airconditioner, which consumes typically about 1330 W and you save 2 hours every day, your total savings in a year can be as high as 970 units or approximately Rs.3300 (assuming each unit costs Rs.3.50).
A clean filter and a clean fin in the airconditioners improve the efficiency too. A regular cleaning helps to keep the system running efficiently for years.
 Energy Efficient Air Conditioning
Using your air conditioner efficiently can help reduce your energy usage. The information here will help you reduce air conditioning costs while keeping your home cool throughout the summer months.
- Setting Your Thermostat for Maximum Energy Savings
Recomended settings for your air conditioner's and heater's thermostat. In the summer months, the air conditioner's thermostat should not be set any lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, the settings should not be any higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Keeping to these guidelines will help maximize energy savings.
Gradually adjust the temperature on the thermostat to help ensure everyone in the family is comfortable. Reduce, or raise, the temperature just one degree at a time and try it for a week. Each one-degree adjustment for an eight-hour period reduces your fuel bill costs. Gradually, you might be able to adjust three or even four degrees comfortably and save a chunk of money.
- Make Your Air Conditioner Work More Efficiently
Running your air conditioner this summer can put strain on your electric bill. There are ways to reduce the effort that your air conditioner puts for when cooling your home.
Top 7 Make Your Air Conditioner Work More Efficiently
Summertime means running the air conditioner non-stop. When the temperatures heat up, the efficiency of our air conditioners drop dramatically. There are some steps that you can take that will ease the burden on your home's air conditioner to help it run more efficiently and at a great savings on your energy bill.
1. Leave the Thermostat Alone
Many people are good about leaving the air conditioner at 78 degrees F. Some even take it upon themselves to set the temperature even higher when there is no one at home. If you make this a practice in your house, make sure that no one drops the temperature below 78 in order to cool the house down faster. The air conditioner cools at the same rate no matter the setting. Adjusting the temperature to 70 degrees will not help your house get to 78 degrees any faster than if it were left at 78.
2. Keep The Curtains Closed
Natural light can help reduce your lighting costs, however when no one is in a room it is best to keep the curtains closed during the day. This is especially true for houses with windows on the eastern and western sides. Keeping the sun's direct rays from entering the house helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to keep the house cool. To maximize this, open the drapes. blinds, or curtains in the evening to allow heat to escape through the windows of your house.
3. Turn On a Fan
In some climates, you can turn the air conditioner off at night and just let ceiling or floor fans provide cool air for your comfort. The energy used by a fan is far less than that of the air conditioner.
If you live in a warmer climate, fans can still provide a comfortable breeze. Using the fans at night may allow you to set the air conditioner above 78 degrees saving a great deal of energy. Fans can also help move cool air around the house to ease the work load of the air conditioner.
4. Get Rid of Hot Air
Use an exhaust fan when cooking to help expel hot air from the house. If you don't have an exhaust fan, cool the room by setting up a floor fan in the kitchen while cooking. The fan not only cools the air, but can also help move it out of the kitchen.
5. Use the Dehumidifier
When people say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," they are right. If you have a dehumidifier turn it on when the temperature rises. Ridding your house of the humidity will help make your family feel more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans.
6. Keep Your Air Conditioner Out of the Sun
The ideal location for a central air conditioning unit is on the north side of a house. While this may not be practical in every case, the general idea of keeping the unit out of the sun can be achieved in other ways.
Landscaping does more than make your yard look nice. By planting shrubs or trees around your air conditioning unit, you can help it cool your home more efficiently. The shade from this landscaping can also be used to keep the sun's direct rays off your home!
7. Save Chores for the Right Time
While cooking can heat up the kitchen, so can using the dishwasher to dry the dishes. Clothes dryers located in the house can have the same effect. These tasks are better left for the evening time or, better yet, when no one is home.
Taking on labor intensive tasks can also make you feel uncomfortable during the hottest times of the day. If possible, do them in the evening or the early morning when the heat isn't so bad.
 Air conditioning applications
Air conditioning engineers broadly divide air conditioning applications into comfort and process.
Comfort applications aim to provide a building indoor environment that remains relatively constant in a range preferred by humans despite changes in external weather conditions or in internal heat loads.
Air conditioning makes deep plan buildings feasible, for otherwise they'd have to be built narrower or with light wells so that inner spaces receive sufficient outdoor air via natural ventilation. Air conditioning also allows buildings to be taller since wind speed increases significantly with altitude making natural ventilation impractical for very tall buildings. Comfort applications for various building types are quite different and may be categorized as
- Low-Rise Residential buildings, including single family houses, duplexes, and small apartment buildings
- High-Rise Residential buildings, such as tall dormitories and apartment blocks
- Commercial buildings, which are built for commerce, including offices, malls, shopping centers, restaurants, etc.
- Institutional buildings, which includes hospitals, governmental, academic, and so on.
- Industrial spaces where thermal comfort of workers is desired.
In addition to buildings, air conditioning can be used for many types of transportation — motor-cars and other land vehicles, trains, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft.
Process applications aim to provide a suitable environment for a process being carried out, regardless of internal heat and humidity loads and external weather conditions. Although often in the comfort range, it is the needs of the process that determine conditions, not human preference. Process applications include these:
- Hospital operating theatres, in which air is filtered to high levels to reduce infection risk and the humidity controlled to limit patient dehydration. Although temperatures are often in the comfort range, some specialist procedures such as open heart surgery require low temperatures (about 18 °C, 64 °F) and others such as neonatal relatively high temperatures (about 28 °C, 82 °F).
- Cleanrooms for the production of integrated circuits, pharmaceuticals, and the like, in which very high levels of air cleanliness and control of temperature and humidity are required for the success of the process.
- Facilities for breeding laboratory animals. Since many animals normally only reproduce in spring, holding them in rooms at which conditions mirror spring all year can cause them to reproduce year-round.
- Aircraft air conditioning. Although nominally aimed at providing comfort for passengers and cooling of equipment, aircraft air conditioning presents a special challenge because of the changing density associated with changes in altitude, humidity and temperature of the outside air.
- Data centers
- Textile factories
- Physical testing facilities
- Plants and farm growing areas
- Nuclear facilities
- Chemical and biological laboratories
- Industrial environments
- Food cooking and processing areas
In both comfort and process applications, the objective may be to not only control temperature, but also humidity, air quality and air movement from space to space.
 Humidity control
Refrigeration air conditioning equipment usually reduces the humidity of the air processed by the system. The relatively cold (below the dewpoint) evaporator coil condenses water vapor from the processed air, (much like an ice-cold drink will condense water on the outside of a glass), sending the water to a drain and removing water vapor from the cooled space and lowering the relative humidity. Since humans perspire to provide natural cooling by the evaporation of perspiration from the skin, drier air (up to a point) improves the comfort provided. The comfort air conditioner is designed to create a 40% to 60% relative humidity in the occupied space. In food retailing establishments, large open chiller cabinets act as highly effective air dehumidifying units.
A specific type of air conditioner that is used only for dehumidifying is called a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is different from a regular air conditioner in that both the evaporator and condensor coils are placed in the same air path, and the entire unit is placed in the environment that is intended to be conditioned (in this case dehumidified), rather than requiring the condensor coil to be outdoors. Having the condensor coil in the same air path as the evaporator coil produces warm, dehumidified air. The evaporator (cold) coil is placed first in the air path, dehumidifying the air exactly as a regular air conditioner does. The air next passes over the condensor coil re-warming the now dehumidified air. Note that the terms "condensor coil" and "evaporator coil" do not refer to the behavior of water in the air as it passes over each coil; instead they refer to the phases of the refrigeration cycle. Having the condensor coil in the main air path rather than in a separate, outdoor air path (as in a regular air conditioner) results in two consequences—the output air is warm rather than cold, and the unit is able to be placed anywhere in the environment to be conditioned, without a need to have the condensor outdoors.
Unlike a regular air conditioner, a dehumidifier will actually heat a room just as an electric heater that draws the same amount of power (watts) as the dehumidifier. A regular air conditioner transfers energy out of the room by means of the condensor coil, which is outside the room (outdoors). This is a thermodynamic system where the room serves as the system and energy is transferred out of the system. Conversely with a dehumidifier, no energy is transferred out of the thermodynamic system (room) because the air conditioning unit (dehumidifier) is entirely inside the room. Therefore all of the power consumed by the dehumidifier is energy that is input into the thermodynamic system (the room), and remains in the room (as heat). In addition, if the condensed water has been removed from the room, the amount of heat needed to boil that water has been added to the room. This is the inverse of adding water to the room with an evaporative cooler.
Dehumidifiers are commonly used in cold, damp climates to prevent mold growth indoors, especially in basements. They are also sometimes used in hot, humid climates for comfort because they reduce the humidity which causes discomfort (just as a regular air conditioner, but without cooling the room).
The engineering of physical and thermodynamic properties of gas-vapor mixtures is named Psychrometrics.
 General guidelines for air conditioner efficiency
Is your current air conditioning system efficient or is it time to upgrade to a new energy saving air conditioner? What does cleaning your energy saving air conditioner do to energy efficiency? Are there ways to make your existing unit an energy saving air conditioner even if it's not the newest, most energy saving air conditioner available? What is refrigerant charge and what impact does it have on efficiency? What should you look for if you do decide to buy an energy saving air conditioner? All these questions and more are covered in this section.
Is it time to buy a new high efficiency air conditioner?
If your unit is more than ten years old, or cycles rapidly when in use (on / off / on off), it is probably time to buy a new energy saving air conditioner, as efficiency standards for air conditioning systems keep increasing, and you will probably save more than 20% on your electricity bill by upgrading to an energy saving air conditioner. If your central air conditioning system is more than ten years old, it may have been oversized at the time of installation, as installing oversized units was once common practice. An oversized unit, it turns out, is much less efficient than one slightly undersized for the area being cooled, so even if modern air conditioning systems weren't more efficient on average than 10-year-old units of the same BTU output, you could wind up saving money by upgrading. To see if your unit is oversized, ask an HVAC contractor to check its BTU rating for you and to do a sizing on your house to determine whether it was oversized.
Refrigerant levels are critical to optimum AC efficiency
Good quality energy saving air conditioners for window or through-the-wall installation are shipped with the correct amount of refrigerant (known as the refrigerant charge) for efficient operation. Central air conditioning systems have their manufacturer-recommended refrigerant charge added by the licensed HVAC company doing the installation - but a poorly trained installer may install too much or too little refrigerant. For both types of air conditioning system, the refrigerant charge may decrease over time due to leaks. If the performance of your air conditioning system seems to diminish over time, or it's working harder this summer than it was last summer to do the same amount of cooling, the refrigerant charge may be a problem.
For a central energy saving air conditioner, you should have the unit serviced to preserve its efficient operation. The service every couple of years (more often if you use it much of the year) should include a test of the refrigerant charge, and the charge level should be noted on the invoice. Also ask the technician to verify that the refrigerant charge is correct for the unit, not just sufficient. There should not be too much refrigerant. Keep your maintenance invoices so you can ensure the refrigerant charge stays the same. If it drops from one servicing to the next there may be a leak, which needs to be fixed by a technician before more refrigerant is added.
Keep the unit clean
For either central or room units, keep your energy saving air conditioner clean. Any exposed coils, vents, fins, filters, or other parts where heat is vented, air passes through, or where moving parts are exposed to the air should be kept free of dust and moisture. Make sure any condensate from a window unit is properly drained to the out of doors, preferably away from the house so that it does not drip on your foundation and increase basement humidity problems. For a central unit, make sure the unit is cleaned by having annual maintenance performed.
Never turn the temperature way down to speed cooling
Turning your energy saving air conditioner down to a very cold setting won't make any difference to how fast the room cools, and suddenly you'll be (A) freezing and (B) wasting energy if you forget to turn the unit back to a reasonable temperature setting. The temperature control on your energy saving air conditioner only determines at what low temperature the unit will stop cooling, not how much cooling effort it will expend at any given time.
Anticipate hot days and cool early
It uses less energy for the air conditioning system to cool a room down to the desired temperature, when it's still cool outside. Don't wait until it's scorching hot outside. Better yet, if it's cool at night, open the windows first and draw in as much cool outside air as possible before turning on the air conditioning system
Anticipate departures and turn units off early
It's not terribly efficient to run your energy saving air conditioner while you're out of the room or house being cooled for more than a half hour. It takes much less time for an AC unit to start making a room or house comfortable, than for it to keep the space comfortable for non-existent occupants. So if you're planning to head out, turn the room unit off ten minutes before you leave, or the house unit off half an hour before you leave.
Don't believe anyone who tells you it's more efficient to let the unit run all the time, rather than to let the temperature in your house rise when you're not around. No house is perfectly insulated; some heat always creeps in from outside when it's cooler out than in. The greater temperature difference between outside and inside, and the more poorly insulated or sealed the house, the more energy will pass through the walls as the two temperatures strive to meet equilibrium. Since leaving a unit on all the time means you are maintaining a greater temperature difference, you are causing greater energy exchange with the outside, which means greater energy consumption by the air conditioning system.
And don't forget that sometimes the errand you think is going to take ten minutes can expand to two hours (you remember another thing you need to pick up, you meet a friend and chat, you have a fender bender). If you leave your energy saving air conditioner running on the assumption you're just stepping out for ten minutes, but you're gone much longer, you've just wasted a good deal of electricity.
If you don't want to come back to a warm, clammy room or house, you can put a room air conditioner on a timer (or use its built-in timer if it has one), and set it to turn on a few minutes to half an hour before you return. But remember that a separate automatic timer must be able to handle the amperage of your unit; some automatic timers are only designed to turn lights on to make your house appear occupied.
For a central air conditioning system, if you are leaving during one step of the daily cycle but returning at another part, it is safe to raise the temperature when you leave, as programmable thermostats will revert to the regularly programmed temperature setting when the next phase of the program kicks in. For example, suppose you have your thermostat set to: 6:30 a.m. 78F, 8:30 a.m. 83F, 4:30 p.m. 78F, 10:00 p.m. 83F. If you are leaving the house early, say at 7:00 a.m., you can turn the temperature up to 83F without reprogramming the unit; the house will still start to cool down to 78F at 4:30 p.m., but you'll save the cost of keeping it cool from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Use an energy-saving temperature setting
Your rooms should be cooled to between 23-26C (73-79F). Use the highest temperature in this range you can comfortably live in. You'll save a lot more if you set your cooling temperature to 26C/79F than if you use the lower end of the range.
Supplement your air conditioning system with fans
Use ceiling fans and room fans to blow your air-conditioned indoor air around, in rooms where people are present. This will help them keep cool, and you'll be able to raise the air conditioning system thermostat setting by 2-4F (1-2C) without anyone noticing a decrease in comfort over a room that's air conditioned without a fan. Compared to air conditioning systems, fans use practically no energy at all.
 Health implications
A poorly maintained air-conditioning system can occasionally promote the growth and spread of microorganisms, such as Legionella pneumophila, the infectious agent responsible for Legionnaires' disease, or thermophilic actinomycetes, but as long as the air conditioner is kept clean these health hazards can be avoided. Conversely, air conditioning, including filtration, humidification, cooling, disinfection, etc., can be used to provide a clean, safe, hypoallergenic atmosphere in hospital operating rooms and other environments where an appropriate atmosphere is critical to patient safety and well-being. Air conditioning can have a positive effect on sufferers of allergies and asthma.
In serious heat waves, air conditioning can save the lives of the elderly. Some local authorities have even set up public cooling centers for people without home air conditioning.
 Energy use
In a thermodynamically closed system, any energy input into the system that is being maintained at a set temperature (which is a standard mode of operation for modern air conditioners) requires that the energy removal rate from the air conditioner increases. This increase has the effect that for each unit of energy input into the system (say to power a light bulb in the closed system) this requires the air conditioner to remove that energy. In order to do that the air conditioner must increase its consumption by the inverse of its efficiency times the input of energy. As an example, presume that inside the closed system a 100 watt light bulb is activated, and the air conditioner has an efficiency of 200%. The air conditioner's energy consumption will increase by 50 W to compensate for this, thus making the 100 W light bulb use a total of 150 W of energy.
It is typical for air conditioners to operate at "efficiencies" of significantly greater than 100%.However it may be noted that the input (electrical) energy is of higher thermodynamic quality than the output which is basically thermal energy (heat dissipated), See Coefficient of performance.
 Increased Use of Air Conditioners to Produce More Greenhouse Gas
Temperatures are reaching triple digits across the country and air conditioners are working overtime. They are also injecting additional carbon into the air, a gas known to insulate the planet and contribute to global warming.
A new analysis suggests the cycle will be exacerbated.
Earth's temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius) in the last century. Studies strongly suggest that the increase is due to increased volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists predict the trend will continue and we'll also see more severe weather such as extreme heat in the future.
The temperature changes associated with the new bouts of extreme weather will require more energy for cooling buildings, the scientists said today.
The researchers simulated how temperatures will fluctuate across the United States in response to global warming and found that energy requirements will increase in the southern and western regions of the country as people turn on their air conditions to find relief from the scorching heat.
"The AC in my office is at full blast right now [and] that requires a lot of energy," said T. J. Blasing, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee where temperatures are reaching the 90s today.
However, Blasing and colleagues also found that the northern parts of the country will use less energy by 2025 because those regions will actually require less heating in winter.
The extra carbon emissions from the higher air-conditioning needs in the South and West offsets the decrease of emissions from reduced heating needs in the north, Blasing and his colleagues concluded. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
Heating is often provided by natural gas, which is a very efficient process.
"You burn the gas, you get heat," Blasing told LiveScience. "When you generate electricity, you waste two-thirds of the heat produced."
Air conditioners are run on electricity. And most electricity is generated at coal-fired power plants.
"You have to burn a lot of coal to keep me cool," Blasing said.
The simulated carbon emissions attributed to AC usage accounts for less than half a percent of the nation's total. However, on a regional basis the effects are expected to be greater, and overall the net result, though small, will be more carbon emissions.
If states are setting plans for curbing carbon dioxide emissions, some like those in the Northeast will have an easier time than say those in the Southeast. The Northeast or north-central regions could probably keep their carbon emissions the same with no change in policy, Blasing explained.
 Air conditioners and the environment
The five programs will explain the relationship between air conditioners and the environment, as well as what Daikin is doing to lessen the environmental impact of air conditioners.
 Program 1
 What Should Air conditioners Do for the Environment?
There are two main ways that air conditioners impact the environment in a life cycle that includes manufacture, use by customer, recovery, and disposal at the end of useful life.
|1. Air conditioners need electricity to operate, and power plants generate CO2 (carbon dioxide) through the process of power generation.
→ This is a cause of global warming.
2. Air conditioners use fluorocarbons as refrigerants. →Fluorocarbons affect the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
In addition to the above, there are other things that must be done: making efficient use of the resources used as raw materials for air conditioners; and properly disposing of or recycling used air conditioners.
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity. The CO2 generated from the creation of this electricity is one of the causes of global warming, a problem that countries around the world are taking measures to solve.
Air conditioners need refrigerants to work. Fluorocarbons, widely used as refrigerants, contribute to global warming and conventional fluorocarbons contribute to ozone layer depletion. Measures are being taking to remedy these problems.
Air conditioners contain useful metals such as iron and aluminum. It's crucial that we think about how to properly use and dispose of these substances.
 Program 2
 Global Warming
How Does Global Warming Occur?
The Earth maintains a balance of heat: in the daytime: heat from the sun warms the planet, while at night this heat is emitted back out of the Earth's atmosphere. But if greenhouse gases like CO2 increase, heat is trapped and the Earth's surface temperature rises. This is the global warming phenomenon.
Why is Global Warming a Problem?
Melting of the polar ice will cause sea levels to rise. This will submerge the coasts of some countries and regions. If there are large changes in temperature due to global warming, the result will be catastrophic droughts and desertification, and localized torrential rain. These in turn will affect living things and food production, and cause endemic diseases.
- The Future of Our Planet
The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report predicts a number of serious affects from global warming.
If measures are not taken, scientists predict that by 2100, temperatures will rise by as much as 6.4° C, sea levels will rise by up to 59 centimeters, and glacial and polar ice will melt. Besides the chance of late summer ice in the North Sea completely disappearing by the middle of this century, scientists also predict that extreme weather will cause more frequent occurrences of heat waves and rainstorms, and that rising sea levels in the tropics will be accompanied by stronger tropical cyclones, causing more gale force winds and heavy rains.
Why are Greenhouse Gases Generated?
CO2 constitutes the largest greenhouse gas emissions. Before the industrial revolution (which started in the late 19th century), the only CO2 emitted was from the breathing of humans and animals as part of the natural circulation loop. But CO2 emissions from human activities have been steadily rising since the industrial revolution and with the increase in the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil).
 Program 3
 Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners
Preventing Global Warming through the Proper Use of Energy
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity to carry out cooling and heating. To produce this electricity, power plants burn fuel and generate CO2, one of the causes of global warming.
What's the Relationship Between Air Conditioners and CO2 Generation?
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity. Of the energy consumed in the average home, air conditioners account for about 25.2%, more than TVs or refrigerators. This alone shows the amount of CO2 emissions during air conditioner use. That's why it's important to buy an energy-efficient air conditioner and to avoid wasting electricity by doing things like setting the cooling temperature as high as possible and the heating temperature as low as possible, as well as regularly cleaning the air conditioner filter.
- CO2 emitted by a room air conditioner from manufacture to final disposal
|During manufacture of materials and parts||126kg-CO2|
|During manufacture of air conditioner||22kg-CO2|
|During air conditioner use||3,586kg-CO2|
|During disposal and recycling||10kg-CO2|
You can see that most of the CO2 emission occurs during air conditioner use.
 Program 4
 Preventing Refrigerant (Flurocarbon) Emissions
Preventing Ozone Layer Depletion and Global Warming Due to Refrigerants (fluorocarbons)
Air conditioners use refrigerants to carry heat from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. Conventional refrigerants like CFCs and HCFCs deplete the ozone layer if released into the atmosphere. Even HFCs, new refrigerants that do not deplete the ozone layer, contribute to global warming.
How Does Ozone Layer Depletion Occur?
The stratospheric ozone layer above the Earth's atmosphere protects us by absorbing the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, a little more than 20 years ago, it was discovered that the ozone layer above the Antarctic had become thin. Scientists pointed out that this was the result of the ozone layer being broken down by CFCs (designated fluorocarbons) used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators.
To prevent refrigerants from entering the atmosphere, Daikin takes great care to ensure that air conditioners and refrigerators that have reached the end of their useful life are properly disposed of by retail outlets.
What will Happen if the Ozone Layer is Destroyed?
The ozone layer will be unable to absorb strong ultraviolet rays, which will reach the Earth's surface and cause skin cancer. It's also believed that these ultraviolet rays will negatively impact ecosystems.
- Depleted ozone layer above the Antarctic
What Restrictions Protect the Ozone Layer?
HFCs are substances that do not harm the ozone layer. Developed countries around the world banned the use of CFCs and converted to HCFCs, which have one-tenth to one-fiftieth the ozone depletion potential of CFCs. These countries are now converting to HFCs, which have no ozone depletion potential. These efforts are based on the Montreal Protocol.
- Montreal Protocol (September 1987)
|Restricted substances:||Ozone depleting substances
(CFCs, HCFCs, halon,1,1,1-trichloroethane,
ethyl bromide, etc.)
|Restrictions:||Reduce and stop manufacture|
|Schedule:||CFCs||Developed countries: Manufacture stopped as of 1995|
|HCFCs||Developed countries: Stop manufacture by 2020|
What's the Relationship Between Refrigerants (fluorocarbons) and Global Warming?
The conventional ozone depleting refrigerants, CFCs and HCFCs, and the new refrigerants, HFCs, all contribute to global warming. CFCs, which haven't been manufactured since 1995, contribute three to 10 times (varies according to type of CFC) as much to global warming as the HFCs currently replacing CFCs. So the switch from CFCs to HFCs also has a significant effect in preventing global warming.
|Although HFCs have been phased in as refrigerants since they do not harm the ozone layer, they are included in the basket of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. Between 2008 and 2012, emissions of CO2 and five other greenhouse gases including HFCs must be 5% less than 1990 greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol does not cover CFCs and HCFCs since the manufacture of these was eliminated under the Montreal Protocol.|
HFCs Currently the Main Refrigerants
HFCs are currently considered the best refrigerant for air conditioners since they do not harm the ozone layer and offer the same level of performance as conventional refrigerants. For the time being, the best way to reduce environmental impact is to reduce damage to the ozone layer by switching to HFC while at the same time reducing global warming by recovering refrigerants and making products more energy efficient.
 Program 5
 Efficient use of resources
Efficient Use of Resources and Reduction of Waste
Air conditioners contain many resources: metals like iron, copper, and aluminum, and resin (plastic). This means that it's important to use resources efficiently and reduce the amount of waste from used air conditioners.
What Resources are Used to Make Air Conditioners?
Iron, copper, and aluminum account for about 80% of an air conditioner's weight. One residential air conditioner contains the equivalent of 250 empty aluminum cans worth of aluminum and 240 10-yen coins worth of copper. Every year in Japan, about 7 million residential air conditioners and 700,000 commercial air conditioners are sold. We must make efficient use of resources by reducing the amount of materials used in these air conditioners, designing products that are easy to disassemble, recycling by collecting and taking apart used products, and reusing parts when possible. As well, making efficient use or resources will help reduce the amount of waste from used air conditioners.
Products Designated Under the Home Appliances Recycling Law
Japan's Home Appliances Recycling Law went into effect in April 2001.
The law covers four products: air conditioners, TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines.Retail outlets collect the used appliances and send these to the manufacturer, which recycles them.
Daikin's residential air conditioners are covered by the law. Consumers are responsible for bearing the cost of transporting and recycling the residential air conditioners at the end of their useful life.
What Exactly is Air Conditioner Recycling?
We take used air conditioners from customers, disassemble them, separate the materials, and then recycle these into raw materials.
Let's Look Inside a Recycling Plant
2. Take apart and separate into different materials
The separated materials are recycled as raw materials.
 See also
- Cooling by Evaporation (Letter to John Lining). Benjamin Franklin, London, June 17, 1758
- History of Air Conditioning Source: Jones Jr., Malcolm. "Air Conditioning". Newsweek. Winter 1997 v130 n24-A p42(2). Retrieved 1 January 2007.
- The History of Air Conditioning Lou Kren, Properties Magazine Inc. Retrieved 1 January 2007.