Home > Energy > Turn OFF your A/C, Open your Window !

Turn OFF your A/C, Open your Window !

In Lebanon, we are champions of over-cooling and over-heating, long sleeves in summer and T-shirts in winter! It is a stupid practice that literally throws money and energy into the sea.

When one’s see how deficient is the electrical network in Lebanon, it is a pity and a shame to waste such a precious ‘commodity’.

Cooling is very greedy energetically speaking : it can use up to 60-70% of the electricity consumed by a house during warm seasons. One AC unit consumes (in average) as much electricity as 12 normal light or 25 economical lights!

Electricity is mainly produced with gas, oil and carbon in Lebanon. The factories release heavy columns of dark smoke, which end up in our lungs. [see pulmonary diseases and increase in cancer rates]. They also contribute to the air and marine pollution [see Zouk and Jiyyeh factories] and global warming.

Diesel generators (“moteur”) are even worse since they are less efficient than larger power plants (they need to burn more fuel to produce the same quantity of electricity) and their owners sell their electricity to much higher costs.

[Pictures taken from Petition to Reduce Pollution Caused by Zouk Power Plant.]

Zouk – Power Plant vomiting Black Smoke

Zouk – Marine Pollution

Poster of the campaign

Turn OFF your A/C, Open your Window

Here follow some tips to decrease your use of A/C, without renouncing to your comfort :

– Make a good use of windows. Open them during the night, and close them during the day to keep the freshness inside. When you’re not in a room, close shutters to keep sun rays outside.

– Use fans! Fans consume 10 to 20 times less electricity respect to an A/C and can make you feel 3 to 8 degrees cooler (they don’t cool the air, they remove the heat that accumulates around your body). A fan is more than enough to be comfortable during the warm seasons (from May till the mid July, and from the beginning of September till the end of October).

– If A/C is absolutely needed, you can set its temperature a little higher (24-25-26°C). The highest the pre set temperature, the lowest the consumption. You can also couple the A/C with a fan.

– “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” (US Department of Agriculture). If you (can) plant shade trees close to the walls and windows of your house, be assured that the needs in cooling will diminish.

If you are interested to read more in depth about how to decrease your cooling needs (and energy needs at home), you are strongly advice to give a look to the following website.

It is normal to sometimes feel hot and sweaty in summer (and cold in winter). And not the contrary! Creating an artificial climate at home will only make you feel more unbearable the heat outside, and make you nag more about it.

There are a few places where it is impossible to live without air conditioning. These places are easy to identify: they were uninhabited until well into the 20th century. If the place you live now was not in prior days a desolate wasteland, unseen except by the occasional nomad or caravan, then air conditioning is not required. [continue reading on www.wisebread.com]

Another bad thing about A/C is that it contributes to the Urban Heat Island by releasing large amounts of heat outdoors, which will in turn increase cooling needs! (an A/C operates by pumping the heat that is indoors and throwing it outdoors). Cities are often 2-3 c warmer respect to the immediately surrounding rural areas.

Planting trees inside the city (park, small garden, or even on your balcony) can decrease the temperature locally.

Late afternoon temperature on a summer day

We have focused on the air conditioning, but there are many other ways to save energy (saving money while polluting less). We advice you the following website which is rather complete, but you can also find plenty of practical information on Google.

Support this campaign by sharing this post on social media (Facebook, Twitter…), by sending it to your friends by email. Let a maximum of Lebanese become aware about it! Here is our Facebook ‘event’. Find posted on the ‘wall’ an easy way to invite all your friends.

You can also print the tips and put the paper in a place where other people would read it (office, university, school…).

“Turn off your A/C, Open your window” is Blue Lebanon first campaign. We would appreciate to hear the feedback of our readers.

Note: we have tried to keep our analysis as simple as possible, without introducing terminologies that engineer usually use. All the numbers used are an estimation (there are different models of A/C, every place and situation are different).

Don’t forget to follow this blog by email to keep in touch! :)
Categories: Energy
  1. May 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    We tried to develop a Solar Powered Fan in Lebanon last year at Karaj Beirut


    Yes it’s good to consume less power. It’s difficult.

    Our goal was to allow those who have NO power to be able to have a cool night’s sleep for example.

    What I want to share with you is this:

    1. A lot of people in Lebanon wish they had power to turn on the AC. They suffer from electricity outages sometimes up to 12hr a day.

    2. People do not invest in technologies that are unreliable, difficult to use and expensive. This is why solar powered equipment is not popular in Lebanon.

    3. People suffer greatly from the heat and humidity in Lebanon and especially in Beirut during the summer.

    I suggest you focus on 1 easy and painless habit forming action, instead of all of these you described. I see clear communication and easy ways to execute the idea to be most effective.

    Also, I have a question. How do you monitor how many people are actually doing this and for how long they are doing it for?

    • May 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      ps: we are not “champions of over-cooling and over-heating, long sleeves in summer and T-shirts in winter!”…. Gulf countries are the champions.

      • Erik Vincenti Zakhia
        May 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Gulf countries are the champions, I don’t deny that, but I am comparing Lebanon to countries with similar climates.
        Lebanon has a mediterranean climate which doesn’t justify A/C use from May to November.

    • Erik Vincenti Zakhia
      May 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      We didn’t mention solar technologies, since we know that most people are not interested to invest money in technologies that are still a bit unreliable and expensive.

      Doing a campaign against A/C excessive use does not exclude doing another one focusing on “easy and painless habit forming actions”.
      We chose to focus on cooling first, since A/C consume much more electricity respect to other electric appliances (you will save much more energy by using less the A/C respect to systematically turning off lights and computers). Both should be done, but at the end we had to begin by something.

      NGOs often do campaigns about the small and easy actions while nobody targeted excessive use of cooling (and heating). This is why we chose to target that. Many people ignore how much A/C consume.

      We can’t monitor who is doing it and who is not. It is not our aim. Our aim is to raise awareness, to try to teach something new to the reader, and maybe hope that the interested reader will share the word around him (family).

      • May 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        Great Eric! I understand this and I’m with you. I want to help you by giving you these questions. Maybe answering them will help you do cool stuff:

        1. How do you monitor how many people are actually doing this and for how long they are doing it for? (this is good to monitor how good your campaign is working and what you can do to make it more effective).

        2. How do you follow up and take it further? (this is good to capitalize on your success and make more positive change.)

        3. Which audience are you trying to reach? And how do you reach them in the best way? (this is good because it let’s you focus your campaign and use effective strategies and tools.)

        I hope this helps.

        • Erik Vincenti Zakhia
          May 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

          Thank you Sherif. The questions you’re raising are important to consider.

          Maybe in future we’ll push it further (and do it more professionally). This small campaign is just a way to test the ground, to make some experience and to learn.

          I have to admit that for now we lack of time, experience and communication skills.

  2. February 16, 2013 at 4:16 am

    People can tell something about you by the way you decorate your house. Your close relatives and friends would know the kind of taste you have when it comes to decorating your house and they would sometimes form an opinion about you based on these things. They can determine tastes and the like through the things inside your house you use for decorations.

    Nice post. I read total Post. It’s really nice. Thank you for sharing………

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