On the 5th June 2017, a news article was published on the BBC website…

How air conditioning changed the world

The article by Tim Harford discussed how instrumental the invention of air conditioning has been to the modern economy. The full article is HERE, but the main points are as follows:

  • Early printing presses had huge problems with humidity. To solve the problem 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%. The incidental side effect of this was invention of cooling of the air.
  • The growth of shopping malls and theatres has only been enabled because of our ability to cool enclosed spaces.
  • Early computer development was only achieve because of our ability to cool the massive temperatures generates by computers. Air conditioning remains a key feature of all large scale computer rooms.
  • Air conditioning changed the way we build our buildings. The glass fronted high rise buildings that dominate our large cites could not exist without air conditioning.
  • It also changed our demographics. Its hard to imagine the rise of cities like Dubia or Singapore without air conditioning.
  • Air conditioning is also responsible for lower mortality rates during heat waves.
  • It has made us more productive in offices and improved leaning in schools.