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Ask Dr. Nandi: Overuse of air conditioning is predicted to cause deaths down the road

Posted: 5:56 PM, Jul 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-06 17:56:19-04

Walking around metro Detroit on these hot summer days you can hear a hum in the air. It’s the sound of thousands of air conditioners cooling our homes and offices in the midst of what’s been a very intense heat wave.

We’ve come to rely on these modern conveniences for comfort. But according to a new study, our overuse of them is hurting the environment…AND costing human lives.

Well, it all comes down to energy. Many air conditioning units use lots of it, in the form of electricity. Especially the large window units you often see in tenement houses and other large residential buildings.

In order to get the electricity needed to power these big machines all day, you have to burn lots of coal and other fossil fuels in the power plants. This, in turn, causes air pollution. 

The study was done by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, who found that increased air conditioning use could lead to the deaths of 1,000 people each year in the Eastern United States alone.

On top of that, 13,000 people in this same region could die in the next 30 years by breathing air that’s been polluted by the burning of fossil fuels. And another 3,000 could die due to ozone exposure.

Well it’s not that easy, right? It’s 2018 and people aren’t going to stop using air conditioning…especially when heat waves are becoming more frequent and more intense! So we have a negative feedback loop in play here.

This is a long-term problem that we all need to get serious about. The only real solution is to find more ways to use clean energy, and stop burning fossil fuels. That’s the conclusion the study’s authors ultimately arrived at.