Beating the Heat

With the observatory recording temperatures of up to 30°C, it reminds us summer time is coming! How we can beat the heat this year?

It remains clear that a sweltering heat has just fallen upon Hong Kong and other tropical regions, welcoming a very warm spring and foreboding a long summer. Our instinct leads us to flick a switch on the air-con and leave it running all day, but is this really the right choice? Air conditioners are fitted with different substances to maintain its cooling effect, one of which is a hydrofluorocarbon, shortened to HFC. When there is a malfunction within the appliance, or disposed of improperly, these substances leak into the environment, widening the hole in the ozone layer. How many malfunctions or disposals take place on a daily basis?

Aside from this, the widespread use of an air-conditioner uses up electricity. Several air conditioners accumulate a large amount of power, and the coal power generators are put under pressure. Coal is widely reputed as an unsustainable source of energy. Although the international community is taking steps to replace these HFCs with a more sustainable alternative, and to make a grand switch to renewable energy, we can, in the meantime, take a look at my alternatives to air conditioners!

Electric fans

Electric fans are the lauded predecessors of air conditioners, and have done well to maintain their position as a cooler. They are far less expensive to maintain, light for easy mobility, for easy moving around, and best of all, they require much less electricity! An hour of an air conditioner uses up to 3 kilowatts (kW) or 3000 watts, while an hour with a fan takes up only 30 watts! Riddle me this, how can an air blast in the face take up 100 times less energy than a blast of air from an air conditioner, but feel so much better?


A hop into the shower can be refreshing, and when it comes during a hot day, it feels invigorating! Turn a low pressure shower on, and treat yourself to a quick 5 minute wash! During summer, we accumulate a layer of dirt much more easily, so a nice lather of soap can rectify it. A shower. Heating up water is completely optional, but raising 60L of water to a warm 30°C from its default 20°C temperature will take 700 watts, at most, still far from the daunting 3000 watts of using an hour of air conditioner unit. During the summer, you’re less likely to heat water up to a temperature so high, especially when the intended purpose is to cool off. Just make sure to not hog the shower!

Iced water- or other drinks!

A refrigerator and its freezer is constantly running. There is no disputing this fact, unless one were to live estranged from society and would have no need for a refrigerator. Why not l use of your freezer freeze yourself a tray of some ice cubes and plop them into a glass of water? Drinking cold water in summer to cool off is a fabled classic, whether you are outside in a large arena, or are safe in the comfort of your own home. Moreso, refrigerators as a whole, are astonishingly low-powered, taking up 95 watts per hour, and can be even lower, depending on how energy efficient and green your fridge may be.

Of course, the air conditioner as a whole cannot be abandoned, but as a sustainable global citizen, we owe our planet more than simply flipping the switch every time we feel the slightest inconvenient pulse of heat. I must reiterate that every appliance is different, but if you want to see the mean average of how much power appliances in your home are taking up, feel free to check here!

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