That’s what you call a sensational title. Mostly, because it’s not exactly true. I did use air-conditioning for one week this summer (when the highs were 100+) though I was thankful not to need to turn it on again after that week.
Actually, I did try to turn it on again in late July when it reached almost 100, but it was broken. It was quickly fixed by my apartment complex’s maintenance crew (who felt it was much more of an urgency about it than I did), but I took that as a sign I didn’t need it.
Overall, I had the A/C switched to ‘On’ for 7 days (set no lower than 85), and I spent about $6 running it. I don’t think I could have done this in a warmer location (though don’t discount the impact of North Carolina’s humidity!) and probably couldn’t if I lived with anyone (for many reasons), but this is what works for me.
When I mention this to others, they’re always surprised. Fifty years ago (or even less), no one would have bat an eye at it. In the 100 years since air conditioning was invented, we in the US have turned it into a necessity. Of course, it is a necessity for some of the physically weaker and those in hotter climes. But for an able-bodied person with access to abundant cool water and a couple of good fans, it is just not needed.
When I’ve mentioned this mostly A/C-free summer to people they usually ask me one of two questions:
Why did you do it?
I’ve really been trying to reduce my consumption in all areas, including electricity. I don’t want to waste resources: whether “mine” or the world’s. While A/C isn’t by definition a waste, it’s not needed. I can wear less clothes, point fans at myself, and believe it or not, sweat. As long as I shower before I’m around others, there’s nothing wrong with it!
It’s hard to say how much I saved by doing this. I think it’s easy to say I saved at least a dollar a day I didn’t flip the switch. In the long North Carolina summer, that makes for over $100 of savings, that all went to my savings account.
I should also mention that part of this challenge to myself was the thrill of competing (with myself): I kept trying to see how much I can stand, and was surprised at my limits. When the summer started, I had set 95 degrees as the point when I turned on the A/C, but it actually got up to 103 before I flipped the switch for the first time.
How did you do it?
It helps that I started out without using air-conditioning. For 5 months, I didn’t run my HVAC system at all, and have been opening my windows wide for months before the heat hit.
I didn’t wake up one 95 degree day and decide not to use A/C. I was doing it on the 75 and 85 degree days.
The key to not using A/C is have some good fans. I have two in my windows, a stand fan for my living room, and ceiling fans in my dining and bedrooms. The air blows on your sweaty body, and you’re cooled by evaporation. This is the cooling method God invented!