Demand for ACs is also increasing in some of the world's lowest users of air conditioning, like the UK and Europe, who have traditionally been opposed to their use in everyday society. The heat waves seen across Europe in 2018 led to 8.4 million AC units sold that year, 11 percent more than in 2017.
These extreme heat waves are only becoming more common around the world. The five warmest summers in Europe have all occurred since 2002, with over 35,000 people dying in the 2003 European heat wave alone. Soon the headline ‘heat death’ will become as repetitive as the annual flu season.
And yes, ‘heat death’ is as frightening as it sounds, “(Heat death) is among the cruellest punishments to a human body, just as painful and disorienting as hypothermia.” David Wallace-Wells describes in his book The Uninhabitable Earth, “The skin often reddens; internal organs begin to fail. Eventually you stop sweating. The brain, too, stops working properly, and sometimes, after a period of agitation and combativeness, the episode is punctuated with a lethal heart attack.”
So how do we survive our warming planet without making it hotter in the process? One solution is to design and use better air conditioners. The current problems with air conditioning is they emit damaging hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases, which trap thousands of times more heat than CO2, plus they consume large amounts of energy in the process. The average air conditioner is about half as efficient as the most efficient AC units on the market, consuming more power to cool a small room, than running four fridges. Check out these tips for improving the efficiency of your air conditioner.