Air Conditioners Aren't Evil

Daniel Engber: So ease up on the 'hipster sanctimony'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2012 12:35 PM CDT
Air Conditioners Aren't Evil
Don't fear the air-conditioner, writes one columnist.   (Shutterstock)

Feel a twinge of guilt as you jack up the air conditioning? Daniel Engber at Slate would be happy to absolve you. He's tired of the holier-than-thou attitude of those (he calls them the "brrr-geoisie") who view A/C units as an evil symbol of modern society. They trot out arguments ranging from global warming to the laziness of Americans to the importance of living in harmony with nature. The problem is that "the case against cooling, like certain other pillars of hipster sanctimony, stands on a foundation of half-formed ideas and intuitions."

Consider that it requires more energy to heat a home in winter than to cool it in summer, writes Engber, who thinks the bias against A/C units is based on seriously shaky scientific arguments. It's like there's a "thermal machismo" at play in the two temperature extremes. If you're chilly on a winter night, it's deemed OK to turn up the thermostat. But if you're sweltering on a summer day, you're a wimp to use artificial cooling. It's time for the "puritanical politics of human comfort" to ease up on this front. Read Engber's full column (the first of two on the subject) here. (More air conditioning stories.)

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