The global climate is getting warmer and warmer these days. As a result, people seek refuge in air-conditioning, and the more we use it, the more carbon we also produce. In response to the debilitating effects of climate change, we should at least be conscientious when it comes to balancing comfort and responsibility. After all, the ill effects of climate change exempt no one.
The good news is that there is a green way to cool off, save money, and significantly curb your carbon footprint.
Doing your part to help the environment not only means separating your garbage in order to recycle; it means that you have to try harder to use less energy or, in this case, contribute less carbon emissions. Here’s what the experts in air conditioning advise:
Get the right size AC. It is always wise to consider the size of your room or house in relation to the unit. Trained contractors in the industry can provide the specifications based on heat loss analysis “Manual J” published by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), calculates heat loss from a building through walls, ceilings or ductwork, in addition to heat gain from the different areas of the house or building due to the occupants.
According to Sid Davis, author of Your Eco-Friendly Home: Buying, Building, or Remodeling Green, “The Manual J guards you from many contractors who always feel that bigger is better. If the sales person starts using a rule-of-thumb method or square footage estimates shop elsewhere.”
Find a competent HVAC contractor. Finding a competent HVAC provider is also crucial. Davis tells homeowners to (1) ask for companies for evidence of their qualifications (like certificates), (2) check whether their work covers testing the ducts for leaks or sealing them, and (3) ask for references.
Check for window and AC safety and efficiency. Apart from AC size, you should look for Energy Star-rated, eco-friendly units. High performance, low energy, argon-filled windows will also reduce the cooling load for air conditioners by more than half.
Install heat barriers. According to experts, insulators (like radiant heat barriers) can reduce radiant heat transfer in an attic by as much as 95 percent. Dense insulation-like foam or blown cellulose will also help.
Install programmable thermostats. Significantly reduce your home cooling costs by installing programmable thermostats. With one of these at home, you won’t have to remember to turn your AC up and down.
Keep you filters clean. Don’t wait until your filters look dirty. Schedule a regular clean-up and only buy filters with a MERV 8 rating, which will prevent dust particles and mold spores from getting into your air conditioning system. Have your unit serviced at least once a year; manufacturers and power companies suggest at least twice a year if you keep them running year round.