In the process of writing the last post, I discovered incidentally another way in which I am apparently a whacknut: I don’t have an air-conditioner. The trend has been grossly in the other direction. According to the Department of Energy, as of 2001, only 22% of Americans live this way. The majority of U.S. households have central A/C. Even among locals here, it’s abnormal to live with ambient summer temperatures: by 2001 only 42% of New Englanders were “suffering” without A/C (around 1980, it was 60%– so “normal” has swung the other way over the course of my lifetime.)
The DOE data table only goes through 2001, but the “progress” looked pretty linear, so I made a graph to see where the trend might be heading. It’s kind of frightening. If things continue on this course, the A/C-free American house will be virtually extinct within 10 years. Wow.
I can only interpret this in two ways: Either (a) we are getting as intolerant of summer heat as we are of winter cold, and adding extra A/C just to keep up with our own growing demands for “comfort”, or (b) the climate is actually getting warmer, and we need more A/C just to keep houses the same temperature they used to be without A/C. Possibly both. And since (a) might cause (b), and (b) might exacerbate (a), it looks like a bad combination.