Consumerism Melbourne

Is aircon turning us into wimps?

Is airconditioning turning us into wimps?

We (and I’m as guilty of this as anybody) go from our sometimes-airconditioned houses in our airconditioned cars or our airconditioned trains to airconditioned offices or airconditioned shopping centres.

If it’s not 20 degrees indoors, we’re complaining. If the train is not airconditioned, we’re complaining. If we have to walk around in the heat, we’re complaining.

And we abuse it. People drive along (on suburban roads, not at freeway speeds) in 25 degrees with the windows shut and the aircon on. On hot days shops leave their doors wide open and pump up the aircon to compensate — evidently they’re not brave enough to shut the doors (or use automatic ones) and put a big “Open” sign up.

And most new buildings are built with big windows and no shade, so they heat up quick. Seriously, I was in a friend’s apartment recently on a sub-20 degree day, but the sun was shining straight in and the aircon was running to keep it cool.

And why? Because energy is cheap, and we can afford it… though of course all that energy generation causes all those emissions, which is slowly making it even hotter…

(By the way, you can open the window. The cool change just came through.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

17 replies on “Is aircon turning us into wimps?”

And right now, in this air conditioned office, there is a woman running a fan heater under her desk to keep her warm because the air conditioning is ‘too cold’!!

Yes, the aircon here is struggling to cope and when the cool change came through it was 27 inside (my trusty desktop clock tells me this) and 23 outside.

Must admit I hate aircon, I always seem to be in directly in the way of the full blast of the cold air, and I hate that.

And every place I go seems to think to should be set so low! what’s wrong with being a little warm?

Guilty as charged and no apology. It wasn’t until six this evening that the aircon went off and the door and windows were opened. My brain ceases to function above 22 deg. Cruel people may suggest an even lower temperature.

Andrew may I suggest that if your brain ceases to function above 22 deg then you should move to the southern tip of Tasmania. We are far too removed from our environments and air conditioners highlight this. When it is hot outside, we should be a little hot, when it is cold, we should be a little cold. To answer the question, yeah I reckon air conditioners are turning us into wimps.

Ah, but it sure was nice on the motorbike in my jeans, leather jacket, helmet, and gloves on Wednesday, in 36 degree heat in the city, riding past the Galleria (is it still called that) shopping area where the doors are fully open all the time and feeling the air con from the street! That I thought was overkill!Yes, we are becoming wimps.

What cool change? I am currently sweltering in my office in Carlton because our aircondtioning has decided it doesn’t feel like operating today. My office cops all of the morning sun and it actually makes me physically ill to have to work in the heat. To compensate I work with no lights on until the afternoon when the sun has thankfully moved over to the other side of the building. I do turn the aircon off when the room reaches a reasonable temperature but if it’s there to use then I will use it.


I don’t have air-conditioning at my place but I can cope okay with the blinds drawn and windows shut on hot days.

Air-conditioning is set too high in shops. It should be shirt-sleeve temperatures and not suit and jumper temperatures. (They’d save electricity and $$$ too.)

Residents who keep their air-conditioners chugging away all night should be *shot!* (In my old place I had to sleep with air-plugs because some inconsiderate person in the neighbourhood had an air-conditioning unit powering on and off all night!)

*That’s my 6c worth, rounded down to 5c!

I guess evap cooling should make me a little less guilty (though it has been switched off since sometime last night). Even still, I’m not afraid to battle the heat by walking up the street to buy a few groceries. Though long gone are the days when hot weather meant no sleep at night and sweltering in hot classrooms or on hot trains on the way home.

Lee, I am always suggesting a place in Tasmania for the summer to my partner. If you knew my working enviroment, you would not wonder why I like my home nice and cool.

At least Australia has a dry heat. Here in Miami,FL, USA practially all of our houses and public buildings are air conditioned all year round due to our high humidity climate. 80 to 100% relative humidity is not uncommon in the evening and night during summer. The windows in cars and buildings often fog and sweat on the outside like a cold glass of water does when the humidity and dewpoint are high. Sometimes during the winter months it is cool enough to open the windows and turn off the A/C. I might need the heat on 2 or 3 times per year during a “cold snap”. Evaporative cooling is practially unkown and not useable in much of my country except in a few western states. Most Americans use central ducted air conditioning and heating. The rest use “window units”. In the US units up to 12,000 BTU can be run from a 120 volt outlet. Larger units and all central air units have a seperate 240 volt circuit to power them. All US homes and public buildings have both voltages available at the service panel.

Eh, the only time I’m really bothered by heat is when it’s airless. I’d rather have the fan on than the A/C when it’s 34 or below. Above 35, the A/C is on.

Around 30’C I want to sleep or start drinking beer.
Above 35’C I don’t want to move unless absolutely necessary. (beer is a good tranquiliser and a fan
is a requirement).

I refuse to go/visit anywhere where the humidity is above 80% and the temperature is above 30’C.
(I can cope with dry heat, but *not* humid heat.)

We don’t have a/c at home. Too expensive. A fan usually helps us cope through the hot days.

A/c is definatley turning the average person into a wimp. Proof: my daughter is the about the only student that has the resilience to cope at school during a sports event during a hot day (for example) all her friends are useless.

It seems that resilience isn’t valued by many people as an attribute these days. Interesting.

I’m a Queenslander and usually not a fan of air con. But it’s running all night at the moment – not because it’s particularly hot here, but because my rented apartment has no security screens and some little bugger came in the open door off my balcony while I was home last week and stole my purse and my backpack, which between them had every bit of ID I own.

So I now close everything up (even when I’m home) which means it’s stifling inside even when there’s a pleasant breeze outside – so I have to run the air con.

Thank god I move in less than a month!


What really gets me about new housing (besides solar & water tanks not being compolsory) is that it’s designed for northern England. I live in Alice Springs and am just exasperated at most of the housing here. We have 2 types of air con because we have 2 types of heat. Mainly dry sometimes humid. Because I loathe giving the government too much of my money I’m really quite careful. That’s not to say that on a 43c day that I should be bordering on heatstroke or that on a cool change(cool is less than 35c here lol) the air con should be chugging along. Fans sometimes are just fine. You know you’ve really lived when you WORK outdoors and it’s been above 40c for 11 days straight and high 20’s during the nights let me tell you.

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