Comfort? What’s comfort?
In 1902, Willis Carrier designed the very first air conditioner not for comfort, but because he needed a way to control the humidity in a New York publishing house. He designed it to keep his paper from expanding and contracting and so that his ink would dry faster and without smudges.
For the love of health
Because of the cool, controllable environment that air conditioning provides, scientists have been able to create important medications and doctors have been able to cure various diseases. Thanks A/C!
Even though the Great Depression was in full swing, movie theaters were among the first businesses to use an air conditioning service. People would flock to see a movie in the summertime in order to cool off, so theaters began releasing their biggest films during the summer months, hence the ever-popular “summer blockbuster.”
The amount of energy that the U.S. annually uses to power our air conditioners is equivalent to the amount of energy used annually by the entire continent of Africa.
A hot vacation
Before air conditioning was created, schools and industries would slow down or take complete summer breaks to avoid working in the heat. Even after air conditioning was popularized, schools still stuck with the summer break method.
The growth of the South
Up until the 1960s, the Northeast was the economic powerhouse of the U.S. After air conditioning became popular, populations increased in states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas and today, 60% of our economic growth has been in the South.
Changes in architecture
Before air conditioning, homes and buildings were designed with high ceilings, breezeways, sleeping porches, landscaping to create shadows, and more so that inhabitants would stay cool. When A/C became the norm, architects stopped building for the cooling effect (making it that much harder when we have to go without air conditioning).
Bye-bye heat tolerance
Studies show that humans who grow accustomed to living in a cool, air conditioned environment lose their natural tolerance for heat.