The Issue of Consumer Air Conditioning in the Greater Asia-Pacific Region

Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning

The increasing heat of the summer season, the overpopulation of major cities, and the hectic schedules of citizens means an increased need for consumer air conditioning.

There are growing concerns in the Asia Pacific region, where the A/C systems are starting to be more common, accessible, and necessary than ever before. There is a strong need for reliable air conditioning in the region, where it was once limited. This means a need to provide comfortable living conditions in the height of summer for the consumer housing market.

The ideal solution here is to provide the very best in green air conditioning solutions for rooms that require them, as described in’s buying guide, “How to Select the Best Portable Air Conditioner“.  Ineffective, out-dated machines will make the problem considerably worse when it comes to power wasted and chemicals emitted. 

The problem is that that this sharp rise in air conditioner use in the Asia Pacific raises issues over environmental credentials and energy usage. Energy consumption, often with fossil fuels, will spike as more and more families turn to using  A/C systems.

This article will look at the pros and cons of the three main types of air conditioner units that are available, the reasons for their increased installation and the possible adoptions and solutions for the future.

The Rise Of Consumer Air Conditioning In Asia Pacific

In 2014, experts widely considered Asia Pacific’s use of their air conditioners as inefficient. First of all, the machines were of a poor standard. Second, of all, there was high energy use in a few small area. It was clear that general use of air conditioning could only increase. This turned out to be true.

Need for systems with a change in climate and culture overtook issues of a lack of affluence and low availability of the machines. There had been a low impact on the climate in the area, compared to areas like North America, as a small proportion of population used them. Still, there were questions over increased use as more homes brought these systems in.

Rise Air Conditioners

Consumer air conditioner use in the Asia Pacific region is increasing. In 2013, China and Japan alone made up 82% of Asia Pacific air conditioner usage, but other countries now desire these machines and have ramped up demand. There is now widespread use in large regions dealing with climate issues.

High summer temperatures in 2014 in India, China and North and South Korea were a catalyst here. The use of air con units that weren’t fit for purpose due to high energy use increased. America was the leader in air conditioner ownership with 87%, due to climate and affluence. Now China is now expected to overtake this figure by 2020. This increased use means wide-spread environmental concerns.

Energy-hungry air conditioners are a problem in any area where use is not controlled, and green energy preferred. The ramp up in use in the Asia Pacific area is particularly discouraging with dramatic increases of the wrong type of energy. The biggest environmental problem here is that there is a vicious cycle of heat islands in built-up areas.

Heavily populated areas use a lot of energy, raising the temperature by as much as 3 degrees. This is common when comparing cities to the countryside.

A major Indian or Korean city could register a considerably different temperature to neighboring rural regions. This is not a regional phenomenon as the same happens in the US and UK. This rise in temperature makes the city more uncomfortable to live in, increasing the need to turn to the air conditioner, which then leads to more energy used. This is a cycle that only ends with a better type of appliance, different energy supplies, and a new approach.

Best Type Of Air Conditioner Unit For A Home Or Office In The Asia Pacific Region

The problem here is that it’s hard to choose the best air conditioner system for the job. All homes and offices in the region need a system that provides an easy method of operation, an effective drop in temperature and the right amount of energy use to be efficient and green.

Three different types of units are commonly available in the region. Each style has its pros and cons and environmental considerations. It is important that all business owners and homeowners use the system that makes the most sense for space, while also saving energy.

Central Air Conditioners

There are two types of the major central systems. There is the packaged air conditioner unit, with electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace that eliminates the need for a separate indoor furnace. The alternative here is the split-system central air conditioner, where one outdoor unit contains the condenser and compressor and the indoor unit contains the evaporator.

There are some clear benefits to choosing this approach. There may be a lot going on with this system, but it is all effective and efficient with the right appliance.

Central Air Conditioners

The self-contained approach of the packaged system also keeps everything neatly in one place for maintenance and other issues. This one-size-fits-all approach pushes air through the ducts to cool large areas in short periods of time. This means that users can cool a large office building with ease.

However, there are also some important disadvantages that owners need to consider. First of all, there are complications in a model with ductwork. Ductwork is potentially expensive and can deteriorate with age, leading to damage and leaks. New system installations are costly in terms of both the monetary expense and the labor involved.

Finally, there is the fact that these ducted systems that carry air throughout the home aren’t adaptable for different temperatures in different rooms.

Then there are the environmental implications of these large systems. There are concerns over the use of CFCs in older, unreliable models that may be in use in the Asia Pacific region.

American developers replaced CFCs with hydrofluorocarbons that don’t affect the ozone layer. Still, these chemicals aren’t a whole lot better, with important effects of their own on global warming. Increases in installations mean a lot of chemical releases in an area recently low in emissions.

Room Air Conditioners

The first alternative here when it comes to choosing a central air conditioning system is the room air conditioner. These systems are smaller units for smaller spaces. Some plug into the regular electrical outlet with ease and provide a more user-friendly approach to the problem. There are also portable versions that may suit some homes a little better.

There are some clear advantages here, as these smaller room models are easier to handle and better suited for small apartments and occasional use than a powerful central system. They tend to draw less than 7.5 amps and plug into most household circuits, as long as they are not shared with any other major appliances.

The new portable air conditioning units may be more energy-efficient than running a huge central A/C system which cools an entire house when no one is using certain rooms until bedtime. They are more appealing because the ease to move them around to areas that need to be cooled and are much cheaper than retrofitting an existing house or apartment.  Some rental apartments will not allow the tenants to install A/C systems, so using a portable air conditioner is the best way to go.

There are a few environmental implications here. Higher energy use due to increased air conditioning units on a broad scale could put a strain on power supplies, with blackouts and brownouts through supply and demand issues.  The large cities will need to upgrade and safeguard their electrical grid.

In 2014, 40% of Mumbai’s energy supply went towards A/C systems. This can only have increased in the following years, with more cities and more nations seeing an upsurge in use. The big problem here is that a large amount of this energy is from fossil fuels, not green sources. This means increased reliance on the wrong type of fuel in a world that should shun carbon fuels.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

The final option here is the mini-split ductless systems. This is a more recent option for heating and cooling that consists of an external compressor/heat pump and internal inverter boxes. These ductless systems mount to the wall, floor or ceiling mounted. There are different sized systems for different needs, with between one and eight inverter boxes.

(Source: Matt KnowsThat)

There are plenty of positive factors to this approach, largely because of the size of the unit and the lack of ducts. This all means that buyers can save a lot of money on labor and installations costs.

There is also that choice over the placement for the most effective approach for the room. There is also the fact that these adaptive systems tend to come with simple controls and remotes. This helps to control temperatures and usage per room.

Still, there are also some disadvantages with this approach. Many will find that they need a high number of these inverter boxes for their need. For example, a standard multi-zone box covers approximately 2,000 square feet, yet many homes or businesses will find that their capacity needs stretch far beyond that. Therefore, many buyers may find that they need to pay out for an additional inverter box to add to the system. This will increase costs significantly. Then there is the cost of the professional installation because of the use of electrics and refrigerants.

This all has some positive implications when it comes to the environmental credentials of these systems. Many of these ductless systems come with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) as well as the chance of a positive Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).

Greater personal control could decrease energy use in the right hands. Still, there is the issue of short-cycling with these appliances. Short-cycling occurs when a unit is incorrectly positioned or oversized for the room – either through poor planning or poor installation. This wastes energy and decreases the effectiveness of the system then struggles with temperature and humidity maintenance.

There is still plenty of work to do to ensure that this region improves air conditioner usage.

A clear understanding of the different types of consumer air conditioning units available is important in this poorer region. It is crucial that those in need of a more comfortable living and working condition receive the best machine.

Still, it is important to make sure that they use the most energy-efficient option to offset increased use across the greater populations. Lower prices and promotion of the most effective systems will help. However, we can’t overlook the potential for new technological developments and changes in culture

The best consumer air conditioning models are the ones with the best energy efficiency, designs, and materials. There is still a good chance that we are yet to create these ideal machines.

We need some seriously effective designs and processes to make up for damage done. There were limitations in both time and money in technological advancement in the area. However, changing attitudes and increased need has gradually led to more investment.

For example, Japan is now a major player in this area of development, largely due to changing needs and attitudes following the 2011 tsunami. One key focus here is on district heating and cooling systems where chilled water cools buildings.

Then there are the cultural practices and problems that may work with or against the development of new practices. One counter here is the Cool Biz campaign in Japan. Here the government aims to encourage businesses to decrease their air conditioner use through energy efficiency and better dress codes.

Some turn to India as an important influence as air conditioner use is still low. It isn’t the first thought for dealing with hot conditioners so that other greener solutions may come from this culture. China, on the other hand, has had a widespread use for so long that it may be difficult to change behaviors.

Choosing The Best Air Conditioner Units In Asia Pacific

There is a lot to consider here. Companies and homeowners have some important choices to make to ensure that their homes and places of work operate at the best temperature. Temperature control and use of use are increasingly important in the Asia Pacific, as regions feel the effects of climate change.

The improved availability and affordability of consumer air conditioning units help to a degree, but they also have to be green enough for energy efficiency. The worst case scenario is that users install more inefficient units, leading to more blackouts and greater ecological damage.

New advancements and research from Japan and beyond can decrease this risk, as can new cultural attitudes to energy and air conditioner use. With time, this sharp rise in air conditioning may not have such negative connotations.

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