How much energy is used for Air Conditioning?


As I make the dash from my office to my car on this sunny 99 degree day in San Antonio, I pass by the air conditioning system of the building.  It is so big and loud.  It runs 24 hours a day pumping the heat out so people can exist inside.

Can you imagine how much energy it uses?  My home central Air Conditioner uses 5 Kilowatts.  That’s the same energy as FIFTY 100 watt incandescent light bulbs

There are 40 houses on my block.  That’s 200 KW in one block.  Multiply that times the hundreds of thousands of blocks in the city and it will boggle your mind.  Multiply that by the number of cities in the southern United States…I can’t even begin to calculate.

The majority of the energy generated in San Antonio goes to cooling.    Compared to that, any other usage like lighting and electronics is a tiny sliver of the pie chart.  As global warming ramps up, this can only increase.

What the world needs is a new method of cooling that uses much less energy.  The phase change system we use now has remained essentially unchanged since it was invented back in 1902 by Willis Carrier; God of Air Conditioning and my personal hero.

I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere where I could go outside on a summer day without my hair bursting into flame.  I can’t imagine such a place.