Thursday, July 26, 2012
This Week: Why did you decide to do without air conditioning and why should others do the same? What tips for going without can you share?
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Each Thursday in June, Stan Cox, a senior scientist at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas and the author of Losing Our Cool, discusses the world of air conditioning. This week: the impact of the rise of AC in the developing world. Have you noticed a growth in air conditioning in other parts of the world?
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?
The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's answer: "Unfortunately, air conditioning of subway stations is not feasible due to the open nature of their construction and the impossibility of cooling an infinite space." Spokeswoman Marjorie Anders explained that the system is open, in part, to cool it: the movement of trains pushes hot air from the tunnels out through vents in city sidewalks.
The exception is Grand Central Terminal, which has air conditioning in The Main Concourse, an enormous central space through which 75,000 to 100,000 passengers pass daily. Anders said seven huge cooling towers on the terminal's roof work in tandem with dozens of temperature sensors to cool the hall. She said that's easier to accomplish at the start of summer because "the building isn’t heat-soaked yet. The concrete, limestone and marble are still cool to the touch."
Ms. Anders spoke by phone from an office at the NY MTA's Midtown headquarters that had been darkened, she claimed, to save energy. She said that though The Main Concourse is air-conditioned, the gigantic underground train shed at Grand Central Terminal, which holds 123 tracks and 46 platforms, is not.
Ushers keep doors between the terminal and the platforms closed when trains aren’t actively boarding or unloading. And conductors on the trains only open one door per car when a train is in Grand Central.
The NY MTA is also coping with the heat wave by reducing the speed of subway trains and reducing electrical usage by shutting down several substations that supply power to the system's third rails. That means subways are moving a little bit slower.
The authority says it cuts back on power during heat waves between noon and 6 pm at the request of the New York State Power Authority.
On subway lines, passengers may notice reduced elevator and escalator service, to conserve energy. Some contracts with energy providers require the NY MTA to reduce power consumption during heat waves.
The authority will also be running trains at reduced speed on Metro-North's New Haven Line, which is powered by overhead catenary wires that droop in extreme heat. "Trains are slowed so that pantographs – arm-like apparatus on the roof of the trains that draw the power from the catenary - do not get ensnared in catenary wires," a spokesman said.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer
An air conditioning unit has lately been the hottest -- or coolest -- commodity around town. But to the dismay of many overheated residents looking to buy or replace a broken AC unit, they've all but sold out in area retail stores.
Friday, August 27, 2010
By Matthew Schuerman : Editor, WNYC
Many more people than expected cashed in on the rebates Con Edison was offering for purchasing energy efficient air conditioners.
Earlier this summer, Con Ed offered $30 back to customers who bought new Energy Star window units for their homes. This wasn’t a typical marketing gimmick meant to pump up sales: Con Ed doesn’t manufacture air conditioners but it is trying to reduce energy consumption and agreed to the rebates as part of a plan required by state regulators.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
During this heat wave, many of us are thankful for our air conditioning, despite the power costs. We're talking about the problems with our reliance on A/C and about some of the cultural changes that go with shutting ourselves indoors. We want to know from you, What would your life be like without air conditioning? Would you leave your house more? Interact with more people?