Since the technology was first made widespread during the latter half of the 20th century, air conditioning has had a sizeable impact in a variety of places.
There are, indeed, few indoor environments which won’t benefit in some way from its application.
Let’s take a look at how an air conditioning system might be of use to people living and working in different sectors.
Air conditioning systems are now ubiquitous in office buildings, and for good reason. They help to boost levels of comfort, which in turn will increase productivity and reduce absenteeism. You’ll also notice a marked boost in morale, which will quickly spread through the workplace. Staff are also likely to be far more productive, as they’ll be less likely to be distracted by the stress of being too hot or cold.
Of course, everyone has a different idea of what the ‘ideal’ comfortable temperature should be; one person might thrive in a frosty environment while another might do so in a balmy one. Moreover, recent studies have suggested a statistically significant gap between the genders in terms of preference, with women tending to feel the cold more. It’s therefore worth offering your employees control over the temperature in their office, in order to ensure an environment that’s right for them.
As well as considering productivity benefits, it’s worth taking into account the savings that climate control will confer to the building itself and the equipment in it. Failure rates for computers and other key hardware will be influenced by an excess of humidity, as moisture in the air can cause electricity to arc between different circuits. What’s more, air conditioning will protect the building itself damp and other moisture-related problems.
If you’re looking to equip an entire building with climate control, then a centralised air conditioning system which ferries cold air to the various rooms of a building via vents is likely to do the job admirably.
If you’re running a shop, then the need for comfort will be all the more pressing – since potential customers are unlikely to linger long in an environment that they don’t find comfortable. An air-conditioned shop is likely to provide respite from the world outside, and therefore an opportunity to make more purchases. This isn’t just so in summertime; while we might think of air-conditioners as cooling devices, they’re also able to act as heaters, meaning we can achieve an optimal temperature whatever time of the year it might be.
Of course, all of the benefits which apply to commercial premises will also apply to residential ones. With the help of an air-conditioner, you’ll be able to sit in your living room in comfort, whatever the weather might be like outside. The best air-conditioning systems will also be able to work silently, so you’ll be able to get on with things without being distracted.
A residential air-conditioner will also help to make life more bearable in the kitchen, where the moisture levels in the air might be wildly inconsistent. An air-conditioning system will act as an extractor fan and a dehumidifier, ensuring that your kitchen is as comfortable as can be, and that the walls are protected against damp and mould. The same might also be said of other excessively moist environments, like bathrooms.
The most important function of a home is as a place to sleep. If the temperature or humidity in a bedroom isn’t optimal, you’re more likely to suffer from a lack of sleep – and the sleep that you do get might not be of the required quality.
High levels of moisture might also have a deleterious effect on your sleep, as it’ll restrict your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. Sweat will carry excess heat to the surface of the skin – but this will do little to lower the body’s temperature if the skin is already saturated with water. An air conditioning system will address this problem, removing excess moisture from the air as well as keeping the temperature at a consistent, appropriate level.
If you’re equipping a public building with air conditioning, then you’ll need to provide the people who are paying for the upgrade (namely, the tax-paying public) with value for money. This is complicated further by the fact that many public buildings were built long before air-circulation was a consideration, and so their layout might not be conducive to effective AC.
That said, air-conditioning systems will make a great match for many such buildings, with their drawbacks being far outweighed by their benefits. They will help to keep wear-and-tear at bay, by stabilising moisture and heat in the interior. They’re therefore a great choice in historical buildings that need to be preserved – and they will almost certainly pay for themselves in terms of long-term repair costs.
If you’re equipping a school or college with air conditioning, then you’ll benefit from many of the same improvements in concentration and productivity that workers on commercial premises are granted. Test results will go up, and information-retention will be improved. These upsides have been recorded in several independent studies – and so we can say with some certainty that the right temperature produces better outcomes for students.
In a medical environment, air-conditioning becomes particularly useful. It’s important that patients are kept in comfort, and so there are compassionate grounds for installing air conditioning. But on top of this, there exist several medical conditions which demand that the air temperature be kept under control – burn victims, for example, are often unable to properly control their body temperature, and must be kept in the warmest possible environment.
If you’re running a medical facility, then you’ll want to take stock of the needs of your patients, and the install air conditioners accordingly. Affording staff with a means of controlling the temperature will also help to ensure that the environment can be adjusted to best suit the needs of individual patients – thus there’s a case both for centralised, efficient systems, and localised control.