Global warming is just that...Warming. As climate change continues to alter our planet, the rising temperatures are becoming more and more difficult to ignore. Areas that were once considered to be mild climates are now experiencing the occasional scorching summer day or snow-free winter. And with this increase in temperature comes an increase in demand for a new air conditioner, but one that doesn't leave a distressing mark on the environment.
Picking up on this niche, a trio of scientists is proposing a new air conditioner alternative in a paper titled "Crowd Oil Not Crude Oil." Basically, this new method is a possible alternative to traditional air conditioners, sans the global warming effects. Plus, its prototype offers much more than just cool air. So how does it work?
Multipurpose, Eco Friendly Air Conditioners
When we purchase an air conditioner, we expect it to adequately cool the air in our homes and buildings. From its transition to a mainstream commodity in major cities across the world, we didn't expect much more than a basic cooling function from air conditioners. But now, as air conditioners are receiving a bad reputation, it's time for a revamp in design. Cooling the air by using tons of unnecessary energy isn't cutting it anymore.
In "Crowd Oil Not Crude Oil," this concept is brought to life. Basically, these three authors want to provide eco-friendly air conditioners that can offer more than just cool air. Instead, this new air conditioner would be powered by renewable electric energy, with the ability to capture carbon dioxide and water in the air. The collection of this carbon dioxide and water could then be used for other purposes. Potential energy sources, synthetic oil wells, and renewable hydrocarbon fuels are just a few of the many options.
Once utilized on a larger scale, these eco-friendly air conditioners will serve as a type of public utility. Just as solar panels are able to work collectively together to provide clean energy, these new air conditioners can do the same. When large buildings take advantage of these new air conditioners, the potential is huge. In the "Crowd Oil Not Crude Oil" page, this concept is addressed in the context of the Frankfurt Fair Tower in Germany. Scientists expand on this theory, saying that if the ventilation systems were replaced with these new air conditioners, humans could harness their resources more effectively with less CO2 emissions.
If put to use on a large scale, these eco-friendly air conditioners could have a huge impact on the environment
Currently, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 billion air conditioning units on the planet. As temperatures continue to rise, so will this number. By 2050, scientists speculate that the air conditioning unit number will jump to 5.6 billion. This means an increase in CO2 emissions from AC unites from 1.26 billion tons to 2.26 billion from air conditioners alone.
What to Expect as Climate Change Continues
There's a notoriously grey area when it comes to climate change. We already know that it is having damaging effects on sea levels and wildlife, but not many people are fully aware of what it will do to humans. We know that the effects aren't good, but how bad are they really?
Bad. According to a recent study published in PLOS Medicine, the mortality rates from polluted air are on the rise. In the Eastern part of the United States alone, roughly 1,000 people are expected to die each year from pollution-related health problems. Whether it has to do with complications from pre-existing health conditions or not, the results are unsettling.
There is also growing awareness of the direct and indirect effects of climate change on human health. The direct effects include increased illnesses, injuries, and deaths related to pollution. The indirect, on the other hand, relate to pollution's effects on ecosystems, infectious agents, and agricultural production. Both the direct and indirect effects are rising with the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere, demanding a change before more damage is done.
Aside from air conditioning, there are many different CO2-emitting culprits in our daily lives. Some of the most common ones include transportation, heavy use of electricity, and improper disposal of household items. A less commonly considered global warming contributor is online shopping. As Amazon and other home delivery services continue exponential growth, emission levels are rising. Instead of shipping once to a store, these items are sent to be dispatched from warehouses across the world until they finally make their way to your front door. The fuel emissions, packaging, and ease of accessibility are making online shopping into a climate change obstacle unlike anything humans have dealt with before.
Online shopping is proving to be a large contributor to climate change as its popularity grows
To help combat climate change, there are several things that we can do individually to lessen our personal carbon footprints. When possible, it's beneficial to carpool with others or take advantage of public transportation. While you are still contributing some CO2, it is far less damaging to do so in the company of others, keeping them from driving their own vehicles on the road.
Another small adjustment that can spare CO2 emissions is buying locally. If you can, shop for locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meat. These products require minimal transportation and processing. Instead of buying blueberries from Spain, opt for whatever produce grows native to your area. By doing so, you'll be strengthening your local economy and saving the planet from unnecessary CO2 emissions.
No matter where you live, small changes can make a big difference in the health of our planet. By changing a few habits here and there, you can drastically reduce your personal carbon footprint easily and effectively. Each adjustment is for the greater good, and with new technological advancements, it's easier than ever to go green.