Many air conditioners are energy guzzlers that are filled with planet-warming refrigerants. Air conditioning generates about 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, twice as much as the entire aviation industry!
As the world warms, the need for cooling, particularly air conditioning, is changing from a luxury to a survival necessity. A significant portion of the global population is already exposed to deadly combinations of heat and humidity, and this will worsen in the future, even with aggressive emission reductions. Limiting warming to 1.5°C would significantly reduce the number of people exposed to extreme heat. However, the growing demand for air conditioning, especially in China and India, presents a major challenge to our energy grid and will contribute to significant emissions if not addressed.
Termites have much to teach us about dealing with the cooling issue in building design. Their mounds are natural marvels of engineering, designed to maintain a stable internal temperature in the scorching heat of many tropical regions.
In essence, termites provide a valuable lesson in harnessing natural, energy-efficient cooling strategies. By applying these principles, architects and designers can develop buildings that are not only comfortable but also ecologically responsible.
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