Air Con Madness

July 26, 2011

Some time ago I wrote a short piece on the curious disparity
of silencer or muffler efficiency between the silkily quiet bloated vehicles
that most of us drive and the ever increasing regiments of deafening gas
powered gadgets that we employ to cut grass, trim this and that, blow this and
that, and drive power boats and jet skis across our lakes and rivers. Nothing
has changed since I wrote it some five years or more ago. Indeed living on a
golf course I am usually awakened not by the click and hum of the members’ electric
golf cars, but by more and more highly specialized machines the maintenance
crews use. All gas powered with little or no muffling.

As noise pollution they are bad enough. Even the golf course
grounds men wear ear protection! The gaseous pollution is another concern, and
given the huge numbers of golf course and landscaping contractors it should not
be ignored.

I could mention the waste of energy these filthy devices
continue to demonstrate. They are not alone on the domestic front. As I was
strolling down to the mailbox earlier this week to pick up my next shipment of
recycling material, I noticed that even though the air temperature was in the
low to mid-sixties and the humidity even lower, and the sun showed no sign of making
an appearance, several of my neighbors were running their air conditioners. Not
just in the day, but around the clock.

At first I assumed that perhaps they were running a test so
as to be ready for the usual five days of intense heat we get in August. But
no, the following day, as cool as the one before, brought the same cacophony of
energy wasting. I am just flabbergasted to understand why they had not thought
of opening windows so as to allow really cool air to drift through their homes.

I began to suspect that this phenomenon might be similar to
the donning of seersucker jackets, white belts and matching shoes favored by
middle aged salesmen on the day after Memorial Day in the Northern NJ town
where I lived in the late seventies. A reflex. It is June. So on goes the air
conditioner, needed or not. I think I can say that without exception the clown
like garments I mentioned are not needed.

There is an interesting obverse of this in the habit of some
hotel chains who turn off their central air-conditioning systems after a
certain date in the fall hoping to control power costs. Woe betide you should you
check in to a south facing room on an unusually warm October day as I have done
in Seoul, Korea and Nice, France. Asking the management to reverse their policy
did not help and so I asked for a room on the other side of the building; over
the kitchen vents.

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