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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Cool it, Joe

Joe Klein is allowed to love warm weather, even when it "slouches toward humidity," but he can kiss my icy cold anatomy if he thinks I'm going to join in his silliness:

The unnecessary refrigeration of America has become a chronic disease. It seems to have gotten worse over the past few years, with thermostats routinely set at 68deg.F, and sometimes even 65 deg., in the (far too many) hotel rooms.

[. . .]

Schipper also estimates a savings of 4% for every degree warmer you push your thermostat. If you're set at 70deg.F now and move it to 75deg.—a comfortable, if slightly chilly number to my mind—you save 20% of the cost and energy of your air-conditioning bill.

If we're really going to get into this sacrifice thing, let's not stop at 5 degrees of cooling in summer. Let's make do with 5 fewer degrees of heat in the winter. Drive 20 percent slower and 20 percent less distance. Eat 25 percent less. Wear those clothes two or three times before washing them. As China and India use more and more energy and we use less and less, we'll meet somewhere in the middle, and the billions of us will all have the same kind of life. What a wonderful future.

Which, Klein is happy to tell us, is likely coming: "The next President will not have the luxury of that sort of indolence, and, happily, both Barack Obama and John McCain have been talking about conservation as a means to get our energy situation under control."


Harl Delos
Mon, 07/07/2008 - 8:58am

Air conditioning isn't just cold air. It removes humidity, and it filters for airborne allergens.

If they want to save energy, the easiest place to make a mammoth difference is in corn and wheat. Currently, we harvest wet, and use natural gas or propane to dry the crop. We used to shock wheat and corn, so that it dried in the field using solar power, then thresh the crop in a second operation in mid-winter, when you couldn't do anything else, anyway.

Even harvesting corn as ear corn, and allowing it to dry in cribs would save an awful lot of energy.

Farmers don't have corn pickers and wheat binders these days, but I bet you'll see agricultural implement dealers offering them in another year or two. There's too much easy money to be had, for farmers to ignore this opportunity.

Bob G.
Mon, 07/07/2008 - 10:40am

They have some mall (or office building?) in Canada that has a dehumidifying system ONLY...saves 'em a TON of money...and NO "real" air conditioning as we've come to know it.

It ain't the HEAT...it's the HUMIDITY.
(...But it's a DRY he. Yeah right,. whatever)
Heat is heat, but that humidity ONLY makes the Burmese smile...lol!



Mon, 07/07/2008 - 10:26pm

We are indeed getting caught up in nonexistant conundrum when we try to differentiate between air conditioning and dehumidifying. Except in very dry climates, the methodology is the same ...reduce the the moisture in the air by means of a heat exchanger.

In the Southwest, air is conditioned using evaporative cooling by adding moisture using an old fashioned "swamp cooler."

Harl Delos
Tue, 07/08/2008 - 3:39am

The "Low" or "High" on an air conditioner is simply fan speed.

You remove the same number of BTUs from the air, either way.

On "Low", the smaller volume of air is chilled more, and it's more likely to condense moisture as the air reaches the dew point.

On "High", you're moving a larger volume of air, and chilling it less, and you're less likely to dehumidify the air.

Seems odd, that "Low" is more effective air conditioning (because of the reduced humidity) than "High", but that's how it works. I try to explain it to my wife that it has to do with the fact that you turn UP the air conditioning in order to turn DOWN the temperature, but at this point, she gets very confused, and things turn, ahem, chilly. Better to suffer in silence, I guess.