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When to replace air conditioners

When to replace air conditioners

how sustainable  is…

This study examines the potential benefit from replacing an existing air conditioning unit with a more efficient new one, against the environmental burden associated with the manufacturing of the new unit and the disposal of the old unit. The study considers energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and cost to the user for different locations (with different climates and electricity prices) in the US.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Most of the life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emission impacts of air conditioning occur in the use phase.
  • From an energy minimisation standpoint, regular replacement is desirable (every 2.5-8 years). However, when greenhouse gas emissions are taken into account, less regular replacement is preferable (every 8-13 years).

The study notes that quality installation and maintenance are important factors to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

There are several things you can do to minimise the impact on the environment from your your air conditioning unit:

  • only turn it on, when you really need it
  • look after it (regularly maintain it and get it serviced)
  • when you dispose of it, look for a place that can recover the refrigerant and destroy it

Report Rating: 3 out of 3

Report Published: April 2010

Country: USA

Author(s): Robert D. De Kleine, Dr. Gregory A. Keoleian, Dr. Jarod C. Kelly

Publisher: Centre for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan

Funder: not identified

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, air conditioner replacement, heating, cooling, house, home

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