Film 1

“Will You Cope Without Air Conditioning?”
Sponsored by Arup.

Surveys carried out around the world indicate people can be comfortable in the workplace at temperatures up to around 32°C, depending on the local climate and if they are able to take ‘adaptive actions’ such as altering clothing and opening windows.

Traditionally Europeans have relied on low-energy ‘passive’ methods of cooling buildings: solar control (keeping out the heat of the sun using shades, blinds and shutters); ventilation (maximising ventilation in the cooler parts of the day); and thermal mass (storing ‘cool’ in the building fabric from night ventilation). However, even these measures were not enough to ensure comfort all the time. Siestas were taken in the afternoon and vacations in the hottest month of the year. These traditions have faded with the development of modern European lifestyles.

Air conditioned buildings are typically designed to deliver 22-24°C, a design target passive measures cannot always guarantee. Air conditioning is becoming increasingly widespread in Europe, a trend set to accelerate due to hotter summers under global warming.

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