Beating heat to create heat

Beating heat to create heat

Beating heat to create heat

Air conditioners are the need of the hour but they are adding to the growing environmental mess. The war­ming and emissions of heat by ACs are adversely affecting environment but who cares?

The ACs pump out heat and harmful gases into the envir­o­n­ment, thus contributing to global warming. “The power required to run ACs consumes fossil fuel and depletes natural reserves,” says Rajeev Betne, a senior programme coordinator with Toxics Link. 

“When we talk about the overall consumption of energy, it amounts to a major loss of coal and electricity. ACs recycle heat generated within the house. The heat emitted produces ozone depleting gases which harm environment.”

Also to be blamed are the buildings which are so conge­s­t­ed that they necessarily need air-conditioning to make conditions liveable. But it is unlikely that people now used to AC rooms will opt for desert coolers which can still prevent the environment from getting gradually destroyed.

Gopal Krishna, founder of Toxics Watch Alliance, says, “ACs emit chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are harmful to the ozone layer. It deteriorates the overall air quality. Overexposure to these gases can cause dizziness, loss of concentrati­on, depression and cardiac issues.”

So far as alternatives are concerned, experts recommend green buildings where lighting and ventilation surro­u­nd the area proportionally.

Even construction material makes a difference. For eg. cement absorbs heat but if people use unsustainable products such as ACs, these end up increasing heat levels, says Nitish Poonia, who works with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

“People should use sustainable products to construct houses. One should opt for thermo-physical properties which are adequate to stop heat gain from outside. The windows’ sizes should allow daylight in more than 50 per cent of the living area.” He adds, “The thermo physical property of glass should be such that it doesn’t allow the heat to pass through. One should use light-coloured reflecting roofs with cool colours having high Solar Reflecting Index. The property of a material reflects back the heat in the atmosphere.”