image credit Vince Michael
Cameron Tonkinwise has noted "The window air conditioner allows architects to be lazy. We don't have to think about making a building work, because you can just buy a box." In fact most modern homes are uninhabitable without AC; nobody even bothers to think about cross ventilation and window placement, they just turn down the thermostat.
Short answer: real brick walls and trees. Our current house was built in 1898. People walk in on a day like today and are glad to feel the cool blast they get entering the house. But there is no central air. We put two fans in the basement, which always stays cool, that blow air up the stairs. We have two window units in two bedrooms. Thanks to thick brick cavity walls and ginormous trees that shade our house, the first floor stays cool even when it is 90 degrees Fahrenheit (that is the peculiar measurement system used in the U.S. and nowhere else) out of doors.
He concludes that green design with air conditioning is a contradiction in terms:
We can crow all we want about how green and efficient our houses are today, but the standards have shifted dramatically from 1960 when air conditioning was not a requirement.
More at Time Tells
More on Air Conditioning and Design
Quotes of the Day: On the Evils of Air Conditioning
The Deluded World of Air Conditioning Revisited
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