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Air conditioning in the US

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
For my area at work, the air conditioning register is in my office, so I turned it off. Still, with other departments setting theirs on "Antarctica", the temps in my area manage to remain at 20 degrees celsius throughout the day. Some of my colleagues (mostly foreigners) use space heaters.

Even though it's only in the sixties and seventies outdoors, all the stores already have the air conditioning on, so do most of my neighbors.

A few years ago, I remember consulting airline documentation for a trial, and it stated something to the effect that "Americans being bulkier, they need temperatures to remain lower in the airplane."

As the summer nears, can someone provide the outline of an answer as to why it has to be so f... freezing indoors? The waste of energy is mind-boggling to me.
post #2 of 19
Fabienne, I think that's the strongest language you've ever used here

Obviously not all Americans see this the same way. My boss shivers anywhere below 80*F, so that's where my office usually is. I prefer to keep my bedroom cold for two reasons. One, when it's 100-150*F during the day, my body needs to get its core temperature down. Two, it reminds me of sleeping outside, snuggled up in a down sleeping bag. When I'm in Germany, I keep all my windows open but have not installed an AC.

Many Americans ask why, after tens of thousands of European citizens died from the heat during summer '03, there is still a strong resistance to AC.

Tom
post #3 of 19
It drives me nuts, too. It should be warm in summer. I understand why people use AC during the hottest days, but it's excessive.
post #4 of 19
I spent a good chunk of my life in the dessert, with no AC. I like being cool in the summer now. when I am traveling, I like to keep my room about as cold as a meat locker, and sleep with a lot of blankets - I find that knocks me out right away.
post #5 of 19
Nobody has an air conditioner in San Francisco. $10m house - no air conditioner. Some stores do, but for the most part it is only large office buildings that have air conditioning. Really, it is only a problem on the three or four hot days a year.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt
Nobody has an air conditioner in San Francisco. $10m house - no air conditioner. Some stores do, but for the most part it is only large office buildings that have air conditioning. Really, it is only a problem on the three or four hot days a year.

iammatt, you're really determined to make me homesick again, aren't you?

Here in Philly, I sometimes run the AC even when it's around 80ish, because the humidity just kills me. I tend to like temperatures a little cooler than most, though, I think--I think anywhere between 55 and 65 degrees F is perfect in humid climates without a sea breeze.
post #7 of 19
Pertinent topic for me. I've just moved to south India, where already temperatures are hovering around 100*F and will only get hotter for the next two months (--and then it will rain for three months straight). Neither my apartment nor my office has A/C. I thought it would be a lot worse than it is. At least it's not humid.

I do remember going to school in New York and just as it was beginning to get warm enough not to wear a jacket, the school would crank up the A/C and you'd end up having to wear a sweater inside and take it off for the walk home. The only explanation I can come up with is that warmer temperatures make people feel lethargic. Cold people are probably more productive.

Sara
post #8 of 19
I know a guy who runs a swamp cooler at his house and gets it down to 45 F during the summer. He wears sweats around but that's how he likes it.

BTW, in clinical trials in healthies, you often find mean subject weight is low and has very little deviation in European populations, much broader in US populations.
post #9 of 19
Be glad you're not the one who's always hot in your office. You can always add another layer to keep warm, but there's little you can do when you're perspiring while just sitting at your desk. That said, AC in commercial buildings is notorious for freezing a portion of the floor and letting the rest broil. Getting a uniform temperature is really difficult.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry about the strong language, but I got depressed last night, looking at a sleeveless silk dress I bought in June in Paris last year and wore only once because it's too cold in the office building to walk around without a cardigan or jacket.


Basically, in the winter, our office building is kept at a warm temperature throughout, about 23 degrees celsius, but in the summer, it drops to 18-19. I guess I'll start wearing winter clothes in summer and summer clothes in winter.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucemaster
iammatt, you're really determined to make me homesick again, aren't you?

Here in Philly, I sometimes run the AC even when it's around 80ish, because the humidity just kills me. I tend to like temperatures a little cooler than most, though, I think--I think anywhere between 55 and 65 degrees F is perfect in humid climates without a sea breeze.

Sauce-

The really great things about Philly are the big steam tubes coming out of the ground that give off hot air which smells of hot dog carts. Awful.

My wife and I have watched five of our closest friends move from SF to Philly over the last 10 years. I really have no sympathy for the damn place .

Hope you make it home soon.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dah328
Be glad you're not the one who's always hot in your office. You can always add another layer to keep warm, but there's little you can do when you're perspiring while just sitting at your desk. That said, AC in commercial buildings is notorious for freezing a portion of the floor and letting the rest broil. Getting a uniform temperature is really difficult.

I know, I spoke to the maintenance guy. I'm all for compromise, I don't mind working in an environment with temperatures a little below what I would prefer, but it seems those who tend to like it colder always win around here!
post #13 of 19
As previously mentioned, I think one of the reasons that A/C tends to be cold is that there are some areas on the floor that don't get much A/C - or where the A/C is counteracted by other things - so there's a need to run it cold to cover the whole area. In my building, most of the floor freezes, except for my side which gets most of the afternoon sun. In the summer, the temp is perfect - cold A/C moderated by sunlight on my back. If the A/C wasn't run cold for the rest of the floor, I would bake. And I can't open my window either.

Of course, the general European attitude perplexes most Americans. I have been on plenty of Paris metro cars in July when the car was at least 100 deg F, if not much hotter, but there was rarely an open window to be found despite the fact that they can be pulled down and opened. Of course, no A/C in most of the buildings either.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alflauren

Of course, the general European attitude perplexes most Americans. I have been on plenty of Paris metro cars in July when the car was at least 100 deg F, if not much hotter, but there was rarely an open window to be found despite the fact that they can be pulled down and opened.

Drafts! Seriously, actually. I think it's mostly a French and German thing.

So, are you then the valiant one opening the metro windows?
post #15 of 19
I am gawd-awful uncomfortable in the heat. I sweat when it reaches 70 degrees. AC also serves to de-humidify the air. That is a huge huge huge bonus for me. I hate humidity too. Really. Without AC I would be the most miserable cranky mf you can imagine.

Sure it's summer and it's supposed to be hot, but there's a limit--and it usually involves me sweating out my clothes as soon as I put them on.

bob
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