Alternative Air Conditioning Cools Down Manila

Alternative Air Conditioning Cools Down Manila

Portable air coolers that lower room temperatures at low financial and environmental cost are rapidly spreading in the capital of the Philippines

Jason Tan
  • 28 may 2010

The Philippines has been extra hot and dry this year because of the El Niño phenomenon. To add insult to the heat stroke, electricity costs in the country have soared past Japan to make it the country with the priciest power in all of Asia.

In Manila, most residents can’t afford air conditioning, and the few who can find that it takes up the biggest portion of their electric bill. This probably explains the rapid spread of portable air coolers throughout the city. Ordinary locals are purchasing it as a low-cost upgrade from electric fans. Commercial spaces are using the appliance as a cheap supplement to reduce the number of air conditioners that have to be switched on.

Conveniently, the lower cooling cost also translates to reduced carbon emissions. Air coolers work by utilizing basic water evaporation and so only consume 60 watts of power per hour compared with the 1,000 watts that an air conditioner would typically consume. A unit is priced at about $US90 and the water and ice needed to be loaded at the base of the machine will cost a Manila resident about 30 cents for every eight hours of usage.

Continued innovation in this technology should boost overall productivity in lower budget offices and schools without taxing the environment or the average citizen’s finances too heavily.

image by Storm Crypt


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