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LETTER | Keep it simple, cool and save energy

LETTER | Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is right in stopping electricity subsidies to households with “excessive” power consumption.

However, he may not be right that by using a fan and air conditioning at the same time, power consumption is high because this depends on the temperature setting of the air conditioner and the fan’s speed.

Using an air conditioner together with a fan produces a wind chill factor, which is the temperature a person feels because of the wind. Think blowing over hot soup to cool it down, the air movement increases the loss of heat by convection, cooling the soup faster.

Using the air-conditioner at a higher temperature setting with a moving fan will achieve the same cooling effect as setting a low temperature with the air conditioner.

Air conditioning at higher temperatures uses less energy than a lower setting, and a fan uses little energy. Using these two together in the correct settings can be an energy-saving approach.

Another approach is to use heat pumps instead of air conditioners. The technology for heat pumps is not new and although the name applies to the contrary, it can be used for cooling.

Increasingly, heat pumps are being used in temperate countries for both heating and cooling because of better energy saving and efficiency than traditional heating and cooling systems.

Here, it has not caught on, but the government should encourage the development and installation of heat pumps to reduce power consumption and save costs.

One low-tech and low-cost method is installing mosquito nets on windows and doors, especially in bedrooms.

On cooler and rainy nights, the windows can be left open and with the fan swirling the air around, it can be cool and comfortable to have a good night’s sleep.

You will be breathing in fresh cool night air instead of dry stale recirculated air from an air conditioner. This does wonders for your health, wallet and of course, the environment.

Planting trees or having a green patch around your home if possible can help reduce your heat and financial woes.

Trees give shade from the sun and provide oxygen which cools the surroundings. They also store carbon dioxide in their leaves, trunk, and roots and this helps reduce rising global temperatures.

The government and the people must be adaptable and practical and use a combination of simple measures and innovative technology to keep themselves cool and comfortable.

By doing so, they may not need to get “heated up” over cooling costs.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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