Imagine we could control the weather - pushing a button to make it warmer or cooler, wetter or drier. The implications would be enormous. No more droughts or floods, no heat waves or icy roads. Deserts would become verdant. Crops would never fail. In fact climate change has sparked some crazy-sounding ideas for hacking the climate, such as spraying sulphuric acid into the upper atmosphere, or dumping quicklime in the oceans. Clever as humans are, however, we're nowhere near precision control of the weather. Outside, at least.
Since the invention of air conditioning, we have been able to control the weather inside, and that has had some some far-reaching and unexpected effects. Ever since our ancestors mastered fire, humans have been able to warm themselves. Cooling down when it's hot has been more challenging.
The eccentric Roman emperor Elagabulus sent slaves to bring snow down from the mountains and pile it in his garden, where breezes would carry the cooler air inside. Needless to say, this was not a scalable solution. At least, not until the 19th century, when Boston entrepreneur Frederic Tudor amassed an unlikely fortune doing something similar. He took blocks of ice from frozen New England lakes in winter, insulated them in sawdust, and shipped them to warmer climes for summer.
Until artificial ice-making took off, mild New England winters caused panic about an "ice famine". Air conditioning as we know it began in 1902, but it had nothing to do with human comfort. New York's Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing Company became frustrated with varying humidity levels when trying to print in colour. The same paper had to be printed four times in four colours, and if the humidity changed between print runs, the paper would slightly expand or contract. Even a millimetre's misalignment looked awful.
The printers asked heating company Buffalo Forge to devise a system to control humidity. A young engineer called Willis Carrier figured out that circulating air over coils that were chilled by compressed ammonia maintained the humidity at a constant 55%. Buffalo Forge was soon selling Willis Carrier's invention wherever humidity posed problems, such as to flour mills and the Gillette corporation, where excessive moisture rusted the razor blades.
These early industrial clients didn't much care about making temperatures more tolerable for their workers - that was an incidental benefit. But by 1906, Carrier was exploring the potential for "comfort" applications in public buildings like theatres. It was an astute choice. Historically, theatres often shut down for summer: no windows, human bodies tightly packed together and, before electricity, lighting provided by flares.
New England ice had been briefly popular. In the summer of 1880, New York's Madison Square Theatre used four tons a day: an eight-foot fan blew air over the ice and through ducts towards the audience. Unfortunately, though cool, the air was also damp, and with pollution increasing in New England's lakes, the melting ice sometimes released unpleasant smells.
Willis Carrier's "Weathermaker" was much more practical. The general public first experienced air conditioning in the burgeoning movie theatres of the 1920s, and it quickly became as much of a selling point as the films. The enduring Hollywood tradition of the summer blockbuster traces directly back to Carrier, as does the rise of the shopping mall. But air conditioning has become more than a mere convenience. It is a transformative technology, which has had a profound influence on where and how we live. —Read more about the transformative powers of air conditioning at bbc.co.uk
Construction management, also called construction project management is the process of overseeing a building project from building conception, design and planning to execution. The process requires the contribution of many experts from architects and engineers to construction professionals, from licensed commercial refrigerator technicians, to material planning specialists from builders and numerous others, all of them being coordinated by the project manager and the project management team.Construction management being such a complex process, even the most experienced and knowledgeable project manager can do with a little help, especially as construction is known as an industry which needs professionals to handle unexpected situations all the time. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and written recommendations available for managers in charge of construction projects – here are the most important areas they can find help with in technical literature:Project planningCost, time …
With the cold season just around the corner, many homeowners ask themselves whether their perfect-working, perfect-looking furnaces need any professional attention. Well, experts agree that your furnace doesn’t need to look bad or to show visible signs of deterioration before a break-down, its appearance doesn’t necessarily change before it starts malfunctioning or wasting energy. According to manufacturers, furnaces need servicing two times a year: once in spring, before the cooling season starts and once in fall, before you turn on the heating for the first time during the year. It’s best to have a dependable Denver commercial heating and cooling company maintain your HVAC system, as a business owner, is just as important.The servicing includes the thorough inspection of not only the furnace itself, but of the entire heating and cooling system as well, followed by cleaning and repairs, if necessary. The process is quick and affordable, but it drives many benefits:It makes sure the f…
HVAC technologies are in continuous development – researchers are working to develop features that reduce the energy needs of HVAC units, while improving efficiency and reliability. Here are a few of the latest innovations that are here to stay:Movement-activated units – these modern HVAC units that are fitted with motion sensors activate only when they detect people moving around in the room, thus making sure that no energy is wasted on cooling or heating the space when there is nobody around.Harnessing the power of the sun – units that use energy generated by solar panels supplemented with natural gas are among the most efficient HVAC systems available today.Geothermal heat pumps – another technology used in the service of energy-efficiency. The units that use geothermal energy are efficient when it comes to both cooling and heating and they come with the additional benefit of generating free hot water.Sensor-driven ventilation – these special vents fitted with advanced sensors can …