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Environment

This zero electricity air conditioner could save the planet

Central AC is a relatively new phenomenon for humanity. While much of the world lives without cooler air, in many cities an ever-expanding number of trains, buildings, and offices are set at a perfect chilled climate.

In the past, US presidential candidates such as Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy debated what the temperature of the room should be for a televised debate. Nixon came off looking nervous while Kennedy remained calm and collected – and room temperature was to blame, according to Nixon.

Then there’s the debate as to what an office temperature should be. Slightly sexist biases have set the average temp for quite some time, since men apparently prefer cooler tempartures. As men luxuriate in frigid rooms, women often shiver through the workday while trying to balance professional attire and maintain a comfortable body temperature.

However cold you prefer the room to be, there's no denying that as AC becomes more common, so do the effects of climate change. And it turns out that AC plays a role in that.  

Some even say being able to lower temperatures so you’re not sweating through a blistering 100+ degree day is a human right -- a topic “hot”-ly debated via the New York Times.

However, this may be a hard demand to meet. Already, Saudi Arabia faces concerns that the country may consume more oil than it exports and industry leaders blame this on growing use of air conditioning.

Air conditioning has really only expanded since the 1950s, although it was invented in 1902. Nowadays, middle income residents in rapidly developing countries like China, India, and Mexico are purchasing more AC units, which is bad news for the environment. Unless the world generates more sustainable forms of cooling systems, colder rooms could mean worse climate chage. 

So a lot of innovative thinkers are working towards a solution. One man in Bangladesh is sharing a cooling alternative, and it’s totally sustainable.

You might not think much can come from reusing plastic bottles, yet Ashis Paul created an air conditioning unit all from extra bottles. He’s now placed over 25,000 “units” in homes throughout Bangladesh -- where summer temperatures soared past 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) at their highest. For people living in tin homes, the intensity of the summer heat can be much worse.

Before inventing the plastic bottle air conditioning unit, Paul overheard his daughter’s physics teacher say that gas cools when it expands quickly. He then got the idea that if he could create a system based on that principle, then cool air could easily be “made” from the hot air outside. He called it the Eco-Cooler.

Have you ever noticed before a storm how the temperature seems to drop quickly? It’s all because of changes in pressure. And this is the same mehanism behind the Eco-Cooler. Check out the video above to learn more and see how it’s made.

“The Eco-Cooler can decrease the temperature by 5°C immediately. When it goes from 30°C to 25°C, I can tell you that it makes a difference,” said Paul.

Finding new or old solutions to help the global population meet the challenges of climate change is important. And sometimes simple science projects, can be low-cost and eco-friendly enough to save the world.

Do you know any other eco-friendly alternatives to air conditioning? Share in the comments below!