How the Air Conditioner Changed America

Would you live in Florida, Southern California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, or New Mexico if there was no air conditioner?

All of these areas have experienced above average growth in the second half of the 20th century—when air conditioners started to become mainstream.

According to an article in the Atlantic:

“We often think of air conditioners as just that, a machine that conditions (i.e., cools) the air around us. But the effects of air conditioners reach far beyond atmospherics to the ways we build our houses, where in the country we live, and how we spend our time. Air conditioners are the enablers of modern American life.”

It makes sense. Before air conditioners, houses were designed with air flow in mind. Some even had the kitchen in a separate cabin than the sleeping area and porches to sit on when the heat became unbearable.

That’s the thing—we’ve changed how we build our homes. It’s harder to keep a home cool without air conditioning than it used to be. This is because of the infrastructure and because we’ve become used to a 72 degree climate.

You can read the original article here.

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