“What’s cooler than being cool?”
Summer has definitely decided to hang around for a little longer. The recent heat wave that struck Southern California has left people struggling to find ways to keep cool. Droves of southlanders flocked to movie theaters, community centers and libraries to avoid record high temperatures. Even the Northern half of the state was not safe from the hot weather, the King wildfire has burned up thousands of acres endangering homes and buildings.
The power grid buckled under the demand for energy as residents blasted home air conditioning. This in turn caused blackouts in some neighborhoods around the Hollywood area.The demand for AC units was so high; most stores in the OC area had sold out of them.
But imagine if we didn’t have the cooling technology such as refrigerators, fans or the modern miracle that is air-conditioning? We would still have to haul snow and slabs of ice from mountain tops. Foods would spoil much quicker. SoCal homes and office spaces would be cramped, stuffy and unbearable in the summer.
Up until halfway through the 19th century, ice was a luxury only the rich could afford. Frederick Tudor, known as the “Ice King” harvested ice from New England to sell in warmer climates in the South. The ice would be cut with handsaws before packaging, making it an extremely labor intensive process.
In 1842, physician John Gorrie invented a prototype for an ice-maker. He hoped to use it to cool the air for his patients in Florida. He believed his machine would revolutionize building spaces, controlling the temperature and comforting those in the sweltering heat. Nine years later, he was granted a patent, but his prototype failed to work regularly. In 1855, Gorrie died along with the idea of air conditioning.
The electrical air conditioner as we know it today was developed by Willis Carrier in 1902. He designed his air conditioning unit as an answer to a problem for a printing company in New York. His machine would feed air through wires filled with cold water to cool the air and control the amount of moisture, thus lowering the humidity. This unit increased productivity for the printing company as it helped maintain proper ink distribution and paper consistency. The air conditioning unit would be used in other businesses such as textile factories. It was not until the invention of the portable window air conditioner that the cooling system was widely adopted into private residences.
Although the operation of air conditioners remains relatively the same albeit more energy conscious, centralized cooling systems have made tremendous progress. With Nest’s Thermostat, the system “learns” your schedule, analyzes the temperature and humidity within your household and adjusts itself to deliver energy savings. Since it can be synced over a Wi-Fi connection, you can even control the Thermostat from your phone while you’re away. Currently, we’ve got one in the office and it’s proved its worth this past week.
What do you think is the next big thing for home cooling? Let us know in the comments below!