Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Natural Air Conditioning

Music: Cornsmoke (native American flute)

A vegan blog talking about something other than food? Well, it just naturally turns to that. Once I started to pay better attention to my body, I started to look at my world around me more closely and what I can do naturally and more gently on the earth. That’s how I feel about air conditioning.

I didn’t grow up with central air. In fact, we didn’t have it in my parents’ house until I was a sophomore in college. It was in 1988, after a string of very hot days when my mother insisted to my father that they finally get it. My room upstairs was always too cold in winter & too hot in summer so it didn't really matter to me. Of course, in the dorms in grad school, there was no air conditioning either but the thick plaster walls & carpet-less floors somehow kept it cool.

Since moving out of my parents’ house, however, I haven’t had it except for when we purchased new furnaces in our last two houses. I didn’t even think about it and I suspect most people don’t. (I probably think about things way more than the average person; another Taurus I work with would agree with me wholeheartedly).

In my current house, I have the furnace checked every 2 years. It’s an old furnace, installed in 1979, but the service repair company tells me it’s in fabulous shape. The last time I had it checked, the man told me that it was in such good shape because we not only took care of it but also because it didn’t have air conditioning attached to it. He said that we run our furnace only about 6 months out of the year whereas with air conditioning, you’re using it year-round. So, of course, it isn’t going to last as long. Makes sense. But that got me thinking. I don’t think I’ll have air conditioning put in if and when we replace this furnace after all.

I don’t like being cold. I enjoy hot weather. As my grandmother always told me, "You'd feel a lot cooler if you stopped moving around so much!"

I work in a library, however, and it is climate controlled. Translation= too cold in the summer for me! I feel like I’m in a refrigerator. I love the feel of the warmth on my skin in the air and I open my windows at home whenever I can.

So how do I keep my house comfortable when the temperatures climb in the summertime? I leave the windows open all night long and I put a fan in my living room window drawing the cool air inside then, in the morning, I close them trapping the cool air inside the house. I then draw all the shades and curtains on the sunny parts of the house. The temps in my house rarely exceed 78 degrees even when it’s in the 90s. I do have ceiling fans and a room a/c in my bedroom for the rare sticky hot night or when Woodward Avenue is just too loud!

I think not having a/c also helps me keep a perspective on how warm it really is. I have to laugh when people complain that 80 is too hot. Here in Michigan, I wait all winter long for summer so you will never hear me complain that it’s too hot. (Too cold, definitely)!

I’ll still have to wear a sweater inside the library all summer but I go outside and sit in the Peace Garden every break I get.

And don’t forget: not having air conditioning means your electric bill is lower.

1 comment:

  1. The first summer I worked at the library I had to eat lunch outside just to warm up every day. My hands would be cramping up from the damp cold in my office. It's gotten somewhat better since then, but it's such a hard thing to keep the climate controlled in a big building. I like my air conditioning because the rooms we use the most are all upstairs, and it does get pretty stuff up there, but whenever possible I'd rather have my windows open also. There's no sound I like better in the world than the wind rustling the trees outside my house.