With temperatures are on the rise, here’s a look at the cost of keeping cool in America – San Bernardino Sun

It’s getting really hot. Temperatures in the deserts are in triple digits every day. As we head through August, one of our peak energy consumption months, here’s a look at all things air conditioning.

According to the International Energy Association, population growth, urbanization and rising income levels, compounded by a warming planet, are driving an unprecedented growth in demand for comfort cooling; from 1.2 billion residential air conditioners in the world today to a projected 4.5 billion by 2050.



U.S. average annual residential air-conditioning expenditures by climate region (2015).


The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the largest percentage of electricity consumption in the residential sector in 2016 was to keep the home cooler.



Top metropolitan areas with the highest employment levels for air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and the annual mean wage in 2016:1. New York: $60,4302. Los Angeles: $56,7103. Tampa, Fla.: $38,7804. Atlanta: $46,1005. Houston: $46,100

Other select Southern California countiesRiverside and San Bernardino: $48,360Orange: $52,790San Diego: $56,980


What was once a luxury for the wealthy is now a necessity for almost all.

An ad for Carrier air conditioners from 1940.

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented a machine to keep the air cool in a lithographing and publishing company in Brooklyn, New York. The machine blew air over cold coils and was the first electric air-cooling system in the world. The Carrier Co. has been in business for 120 years, which is pretty cool.

Cool? In 1906, Stuart Cramer created a ventilating device for a textile mill in North Carolina. He was the first to coin the term “air conditioning.”

Air conditioning? In 1914, the first home air-conditioning unit was installed in the Minneapolis mansion of Charles Gates. It was approximately 7 feet high, 6 feet wide and 20 feet long. It must have cost a bundle.

Cost a bundle? The first home air conditioners in the early 1930s cost the equivalent of $120,000 to $600,000 today. To afford that, you had to live on easy street.

Street? The first automobile to offer air conditioning was the 1939 Packard. It didn’t feature dashboard controls, and the unit took up most of the trunk space, but it had to be the coolest ride sold that summer.


A 1940 Packard with the option of air conditioning.

Summer? In 1942, The U.S. built its first “summer peaking” power plant made to handle the growing electrical load of air conditioning. By 1947, compact, low-cost units were sold by the thousands.

Thousands? How about millions? More than 1 million air conditioners were sold in 1953. Sales for air conditioners were hot.

Hot? How about global warming? Scientists determined that the Freon-12 used in vehicles’ air-conditioning systems was a major source of ozone depletion. Freon-12 was phased out in the 1990s.

1990s? According to the Pew Research Center the percentage of Americans saying that air conditioning was a necessity (not just a luxury) increased 19 percentage points from 1996 to 2006. The item deemed the most necessary was a car.

Car? How about 72.4 million of them? In 2006 the Department of Energy set new efficiency standards for manufacturers of central air conditioners and heat pumps. The standards were expected to avoid the equivalent of about 72.4 million automobiles’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions? New technology can do without it. In 2015, the Department of Energy announced new projects advancing non-vapor-compression technologies that don’t require refrigerants, representing a seismic shift for the industry.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Pew Research Center, Berkeley Laboratory of Energy Analysis

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