Skip to main content

June 2013 EarthTalk

06/15/2013 22:49 ● Published by Sandy Kauten

Options and energy efficiency of A/C units to beat this summer's HEAT!

Dear EarthTalk: Now that hot weather is coming, I want to upgrade my home’s A/C. Which are the most energy-saving models and should I go central air or window units?

                                                Jackie Smith, Cary, NC

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), energy consumption for home air conditioning units accounts for more than eight percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S., at a cost to homeowners of $15 billion annually. Besides the cost, all this cooling leads to annual emissions of about 195 million tons of CO2—or two tons per year for each American home with A/C.

Of course, foregoing A/C entirely is the most energy- and cost-efficient way to go, but some of us need a little cooling for comfort, especially in warmer climates. If A/C is a must, buying the most efficient model is the way to save money and pollute less. Fortunately, a new generation of much more efficient room and

The main factors to consider in choosing a new model are cooling capacity (measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs) and Energy-Efficiency Ratio, or EER. To determine the correct BTU rating for a given space, multiply the square footage by 10 and then add 4,000. Meanwhile, a given unit’s EER is the ratio of cooling output divided by power consumption—the higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, national appliance standards require room air conditioners to have an EER of 8.0 to 9.8 or more, depending on type and capacity. Units with an EER rating of 10 or above typically qualify for the federal government’s ENERGY STAR label, which appears on especially energy-efficient appliances. Check out the ENERGY STAR website for lists of qualifying A/C models.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) says that the average EER of room A/C units rose 47 percent from 1972 to 1991. To wit, replacing an older room unit with an EER of five with a new model with an EER of 10) would result in a 50 percent energy cost savings associated with A/C.

As to whether room units or central A/C makes more sense, it depends. Room units, which only cost a few hundred dollars each, will suffice for renters or those who only need to keep one or two rooms cool at a time. Meanwhile, central A/C is more efficient overall at keeping a whole house cool, and will also do a better job at reducing household humidity than even several individual room units—and will save more money faster on electricity bills. But with a starting price of around $4,000 for the condenser and initial set-up (plus any duct work needed to distribute cool air around a home), central A/C isn’t for everyone.

ACEEE points out that there are ways to keep indoor space cooler without A/C: improving insulation, sealing air gaps, getting rid of old appliances and light bulbs that give off lots of heat, running fans, using cooler colors on exterior roofing and paint, and other strategies. Those in particularly arid climates might also consider installing a swamp cooler (which cools outside air by running it over cold water) as a cheaper alternative to A/C. By following these suggestions and upgrading conscientiously, we can all stay a little more comfortable in our warming world without exacerbating the problem too much.

CONTACTS: ACEEE, http://www.aceee.org/; ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov; AHAM, www.aham.org; Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, www.dsireusa.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

In Print, Today, Today june 2013 issue summer heat solutions ac buying
  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    12/13/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Owen Rose Garden Monthly Work Party

    12/14/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    As the colors of summer blooms fade and drop to the ground, energy is being drawn deep into the r...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/14/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/15/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Howl at the Moon! Winter Solstice Celebration

    12/15/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Bring the whole family for a howling good time at the museum and the Many Nations Longhouse!   ...


  • Opening Reception

    12/15/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Singin' In The Rain

    12/15/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    You remember the plot! You love the characters! You know “the song”! You’ll adore the sparkling, ...


  • Holiday Market

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Saturday Market’s Holiday Market takes the best things about the Saturday Market, bringing them i...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Tree & Tea Party

    12/16/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Join us for a family-paced winter wander through Hendricks Park’s tall trees. Post walk, enjoy te...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM — 04:30PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/16/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/16/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Singin' In The Rain

    12/16/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    You remember the plot! You love the characters! You know “the song”! You’ll adore the sparkling, ...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    12/13/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Owen Rose Garden Monthly Work Party

    12/14/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    As the colors of summer blooms fade and drop to the ground, energy is being drawn deep into the r...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/14/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/15/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Howl at the Moon! Winter Solstice Celebration

    12/15/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Bring the whole family for a howling good time at the museum and the Many Nations Longhouse!   ...


  • Opening Reception

    12/15/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Singin' In The Rain

    12/15/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    You remember the plot! You love the characters! You know “the song”! You’ll adore the sparkling, ...


  • Holiday Market

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Saturday Market’s Holiday Market takes the best things about the Saturday Market, bringing them i...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Tree & Tea Party

    12/16/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Join us for a family-paced winter wander through Hendricks Park’s tall trees. Post walk, enjoy te...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM — 04:30PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/16/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/16/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Singin' In The Rain

    12/16/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    You remember the plot! You love the characters! You know “the song”! You’ll adore the sparkling, ...


  • Holiday Market

    12/17/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Saturday Market’s Holiday Market takes the best things about the Saturday Market, bringing them i...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/17/2017
    02:00PM — 04:30PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Singin' In The Rain

    12/17/2017
    03:00PM — 05:30PM

    You remember the plot! You love the characters! You know “the song”! You’ll adore the sparkling, ...


  • Nutcracker Remixed

    12/17/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    What do you get when you take the classic tale of the Nutcracker and give it a modern twist? The ...


  • Applegate Regional Theatre and Studio 7 unite to present this “Holiday Concert and Carol Sing-alo...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/19/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/19/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    12/20/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/20/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/21/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/21/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/22/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Holiday Market

    12/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Saturday Market’s Holiday Market takes the best things about the Saturday Market, bringing them i...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/23/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/23/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • Holiday Market

    12/24/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Saturday Market’s Holiday Market takes the best things about the Saturday Market, bringing them i...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/26/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


  • Free Kids Table Tennis

    12/26/2017
    04:45PM

    Free Table Tennis for kids at the Eugene Table Tennis Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 4:45-6:15...


  • PreSchool & Lapsit Storytimes

    12/27/2017
    10:00AM — 10:30PM

    Every Wednesday at 10:00am we have two storytimes in the children's area of the library. To the l...


  • Toys! Historic Playthings from Lane County

    12/27/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    We all have fond memories of hours spent at play, conjuring up stories and worlds with our toys. ...


 

 January 2017 Education Guide

NEW!! Coming in Sept / Oct 2017!!!

 

Weekly Recipes