“There are many arguments why it would be better to do without air conditioners. They burden the environment, health, electricity grids and wallets. Their effects on the weather and climate are devastating. In the world’s metropolises, which already rise out of the landscape as islands of heat, they even intensify the trend of heating up. The air conditioning systems enable the cities to produce some of their heat themselves. What is blown out of the houses has to go somewhere. So it gets cool inside, but hotter and hotter outside. On average, the operation of these appliances generates more heat than cool air. In addition, the CO2 balance of the plants is miserable, which further increases the greenhouse effect. Not to mention the environmentally harmful chemicals in some plants.
It almost seems so. In any case, many people are not even deterred by the horrendous cost of electricity. “Even with a compact air-conditioning unit in efficiency class A, an average of 460 kilowatt hours are required every year in the few hot weeks,” calculates the Ökoinstitut, for example – that’s one tenth of the total annual electricity consumption of a four-person household and thus more electricity than a refrigerator needs in 365-day continuous operation, as Christian Noll points out. In addition to 287 kilograms of carbon dioxide, this would cost around 100 euros. In addition, there are operating noises of 60 decibels, which corresponds to the volume of a lawn mower at a distance of ten metres”.
Air conditioners: A real remedy for summer heat or does cooling only create more heat?
Air conditioners are badly labelled power guzzlers
Electric air conditioners
(stand-alone devices) are among the most inefficient and nonsensical power guzzlers, which are currently spreading at a rapid pace. In recent years, HVAC Escondido company have increasingly offered as seasonal goods by DIY stores and discounters. Media Markt and Saturn are very active in promoting these devices, which are mostly superfluous in Germany, to discounters. Since 2004, mobile air conditioners have had to bear the EU label.
This consumption label is therefore theoretically an absolute matter of course for the electrical stores. It is therefore all the more frightening that we are registering clear gaps here. In random samples taken at several Saturn and Media Markt stores last week, BUND discovered that the majority of the devices were often not labelled at all or at least not properly. And this applies to appliances for which consumers urgently need to be made aware of the high power consumption and the differences between the appliances.
Once again, the metro group the discounters Media Markt and Saturn. As early as May, BUND had already demonstrated in a weak-point analysis that these electrical stores sell a particularly large number of energy-consuming appliances and often inform their customers poorly or not at all about them. It fits into the negative picture if a product as important as air conditioners does not even comply with the statutory labelling requirements. Despite other assurances by the Metro Group, electricity guzzlers are again being sold here without providing sufficient information about the high electricity consumption. But BUND wants more than (actually self-evident) compliance with statutory regulations: We demand that all electrical stores stop advertising these inefficient appliances. If individual air conditioners are nevertheless offered in the range, the high electricity consumption and the associated consequential costs must be clearly pointed out. Legal labelling is the basis for this. But consumers need further clear information that the use of the device on only a few days a year means a significant increase in electricity consumption.
Air conditioners are power guzzlers
Air conditioning systems require a great deal of energy for cooling or heating: powerful fans have to circulate the air and the heat pump requires a powerful built-in compressor. Air conditioning systems work in principle like refrigerators, but instead of 150 to 200 litres, entire rooms have to be cooled. A normal air conditioner has a power consumption during operation that corresponds to the amount of energy-saving lamps used to light 50 living rooms. There are virtually no upper limits to electricity consumption if appliances with higher electricity consumption are used for more than 500 hours a year.
Air conditioners must be labelled with the EU label
Since December 2004, air conditioners with a cooling capacity of less than 12 kW have had to be labelled. At first glance, the EU label provides information on how the air conditioner performs in terms of energy efficiency by dividing it into classes. For example, a class A appliance consumes about 11 – 15 % less energy than a class C appliance, depending on the type of appliance. If it is an air conditioner, then
the choice should therefore always be energy efficiency class A.
Air conditioners become a mass phenomenon
Room air conditioners are booming: 140,000 units were sold in 2002 alone. The hotter the summer, the higher the sales. Heating engineers and electricity suppliers are already smelling the effects of energy-intensive household appliances and are strongly advertising them. It is to be feared that this trend will continue. In 2002 alone, German CO2 emissions rose by 57 million kg CO2 due to the additional electricity demand caused by the new air conditioners.
If air conditioners continue to be thrown onto the market with force, it is to be feared that this number will continue to rise in the future.