AC myths 4: Temperature is relatively relative
Thursday 15 September 2011, 1.35pm HKT
(Continued from Part 3)
In this fourth instalment, we’ll bust the myth about official temperature recommendations being good for all and sundry because they were based on some kind of standard.
* * *
That the ‘recommended’ temperature setting is good for every situation.
recommend (vt) 1. to give in charge; commit; entrust 2. to suggest favorably as suited to some use, function, position, etc. 3. to make acceptable or pleasing 4. to advise; counsel; suggest
(Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition (1988), p. 1121: Simon & Shuster Inc.)
Normally, we tend to think of a recommendation as in sense 2. In reality, it’s more like sense 3, especially if it comes from the government.
Anything that is recommended is not one-size-fits-all. Recognise that the recommended AC temperature setting (whatever it may be in your location) is just a guideline, not gospel.
But a guideline based on what? On lousy logic?
Getting used to getting used to
Suppose I were to go from outside in the mid-30s Celsius (mid-90s Fahrenheit) and high humidity into indoors set for 21°C (69°F) or 22°C, it would feel absolutely freezing. Even 25°C (77°F) feels cold at first, but pleasant after a few minutes (or when the sweat isn’t there anymore).
It’s what you get used to, isn’t it?
But I also think the home is a lot different from the office. Somehow, notwithstanding that my workplace has no real dress code, it just doesn’t seem acceptable to turn up at most workplaces in a tee and shorts and sockless, whereas the same at home makes a lot of sense.
The point is, temperature is relative.
If your local climate is never likely to hit 25°C/77°F indoors for more than a couple of days a year, then of course the idea of setting the AC to 26° is a bit excessive. You might even question why you need AC installed at all. Such is the case for most of Canada, northern USA and northern Europe.
However, it’s a different ballgame if you live in equatorial, tropical, subtropical and desert climes, such as Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, North Africa, the Middle East, southern USA, Central America, etc. In those places, half to three-quarters of the year will be 29°C (84°F) or hotter. The higher AC temperature setting is wasteful of energy and prices up your bills. And adds to the general pollution and environmental damage of the planet.
Which is why the Hong Kong government recommendation for 25.5°C (78°F) is such bollocks. Since that recommendation is recycled from other countries, it means by extension American, Canadian, Australian and other Absurdistani recommendations are equally bollocks.
Stop destroying my planet, you sonofabitch.
Sooner or later in any discussion about ACs, you’ll encounter some fathead who contends nearly everything boils down to acclimatisation. Adapt or die! The typical attitude most likely would be:
“Yeah, people, keep turning your aircon to lower and lower temperatures. Every degree colder you make, your little indoor home bubble helps pollute our entire planet even more. Man up! Deal with whatever temperature you live at, unless you want your grandkids to be living in a world where the outdoor environment is too noxious for them to ever step outside.” (Invented example)
Cutting down on AC use is environmentally friendlier and better — it certainly feels intuitively right too. Actually, it’s shite-talk from an environmental sodahead.
(A sodahead is person who voices an orthodox opinion publicly but flames anyone with a different opinion, even if it’s still an orthodox one).
If you live in an essentially cold region, it doesn’t matter. But if you live in a hot and humid region, that’s another story.
There, you’re almost always hot — almost always dribbling away in sweat (as I am now while writing this). You take more showers. You do more laundry: your clothes are almost always sopping drenched. More showers, more laundries — more direct consumption of freshwater, power and detergents or polluting substances.
In the end, trying to adjust yourself to your essentially unadaptable-to surroundings actually contributes to even more damage to the environment than otherwise from AC use of energy. This idea is quite a bit lost even on the environmentally minded.
Unless and until there is a workable alternative to the AC, telling people to shut off the AC and adapt or die is really asking to be spat at.
Yeah, people, keep saying acclimatise, acclimatise, adapt or die. Every time you say it, your ignorant stupidness lights up like a Christmas tree, embarrassing us that you’re also in the same species as the rest of us.
Yeah, man, keep telling us to set temperatures higher in summer and lower in winter, helping to pollute our entire planet even more under the pretext of eco-friendliness.
Man up! Realise your temperate-zone crap don’t always work in the tropics, unless you want your grandkids to live like foulsome beggars in a sewer with skin rashes and boils all over their bodies and so much cockroach infestation in the home for them to ever step inside. Twerp.
* * *
It’s a myth that lower temperature settings will jack up your bills.
* * *
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.