The best eco-friendly air conditioners to keep you cool this summer

    Ah, summer. It’s the perfect time for many exciting and nostalgia-driven pastimes. Pool parties, BBQs, beach trips. Fun!

    What’s not so fun? Being sweaty. And, you guessed it, summer is prime time for sweating through your clothes. That’s why it is monumentally important to have an air conditioning unit that will, at the very least, keep you comfortable at home while the heat wreaks havoc upon the rest of the outside world. But, powerful ACs present a not-so-itty-bitty problem that many of us rarely consider: Their effect on our environment.


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    Most air conditioners function by means of hydrofluorocarbons(opens in a new tab) (or HFCs), which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that slowly destroy the Earth’s ozone layer. These devices are also powered by electricity that’s (more often than not) gained from burning fossil fuels. So as summers get hotter, carbon emissions from heavier AC usage will spike — and 12% of total energy expenditures(opens in a new tab) in the US come from home air conditioning as it is.

    What you might not have known is that there are a bunch of eco-friendly ways to stay cool during the steamy seasons. (Note: Most eco-friendly air conditioners still use HFCs in their respective refrigerants, but they often contain significantly less than their traditional counterparts. Some eco-friendly options, like the Windmill AC, use R-32 as their refrigerant, which contains far fewer hydrofluorocarbons compared to the widely used 410a.)

    Here’s what you need to know about buying one:

    BTUs: This is an acronym you’re going to see a lot throughout this roundup. It stands for British Thermal Unit. It’s not just for the Brits, though; we use it as well to measure energy usage. In short, one BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So, when you track an AC unit’s BTUs, you’re looking at how much energy your appliance can process to heat or cool your room. The more BTUs, the more powerful the AC — which means it can change the temperature of a room more quickly, and even cover more square footage.

    Energy Star Certification: If you’re looking for an eco-friendly air conditioner, it’s probably your best bet to stick with one that’s backed by the Energy Star(opens in a new tab) label. Energy Star is a government-backed symbol that signifies a product’s energy efficiency. In short, if you see the logo on an AC unit, you can definitely send it through to the next round for consideration.

    Important Air Conditioner Characteristics:

    1. Size: When it comes to AC units, size does matter. Going with a device that’s too small or too big for your living space can end up expending more energy than you really need to keep your home comfortable. Not to mention, your utility bill can skyrocket. Yikes.

    2. Scheduling Programs: Air conditioners with the option to program the unit’s internal thermostat are a great way to start going greener. Just set it to turn off when you aren’t home, and that’s more precious energy that you’re saving yourself (and the planet).

    3. Modification Options: This one can get a bit more in the weeds, but if your AC unit has the ability to add on more energy-efficient modifications after your purchase (like a hybrid heat pump(opens in a new tab)), that’s a huge plus. We recommend talking with an air conditioning professional or licensed contractor to find out your options when it comes to this.

    Read the full article here

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