« 99% Invisible

291- Thermal Delight

2018-01-16 | 🔗

When air conditioning was invented in 1902, it was designed to take out the humidity in the air so printers could run four color magazines, without the colors becoming offset due to the paper warping from moisture. A young engineer named Willis Carrier developed a system that pumps air over metal coils cooled with ammonia to pull moisture from the air, but it had a side effect -- it also made the air cooler. Very quickly Carrier began to think about how it could be used beyond printing. Ultimately, air conditioning would dramatically change where people in the United States lived and the design of homes and other buildings.

Thermal Delight

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars it some time in New York. Beer is nineteen o too, and this and will helms printing company in Brooklyn has a problem. That's producer Emmett! That's journal they're, trying to print the popular Humor magazine, judge, and it's really hard in this a lotta humidity and their having trouble getting the thanks to set properly on the page. This is writers, Stephen Johnson, author of the book, how we got two now he says the problem is not so much the heat but the moisture in the air which was warping the paper and throwing the print out of alignment, and so they hire a young enterprising engineer by the name of Willis Carrier to solve this problem and basically pull the moisture out of the air inside the printing plant and carrier develops a system that pumps air over cold metal coils and it worked.
Said pulls moister out of the air in the magazines, are printed more efficiently in and the banks don't run, but it has the side effect of as its pulling the moisture out of the air, it also makes here a cooler and so, of course, everyone What's to have lunch in the room with his new machine I heard a psycho how this is a nice, and here I would have been my savage sit next to the printing press, because its Vieira, so much more pleasant carrier had invented air conditioning and he began to that may be his new technology could do more than just keep paper dry. Maybe it's something could actually be harnessed in the service of just human comfort. He first installs system in textile factories, tobacco plants and other industrial workplaces that required low humidity levels, but his invention really catches on in a very different kind of place. So before air conditioning the last, if you would want to go somewhere, was the crowded
a movie theater with a thousand other human beings. On a day when I was ninety five degrees outright by would just be completely intolerable and movie there's really struggle to sell tickets during the summer months, so carrier up It is a bunch of deer honours all around the country with an idea out stolen new machine that turns your place of business into a crisp cool oasis. It won't be cheap, but you'll make up for the cost in summer. Ticket sales and that's it Exactly what happened? Peter owners advertise their chilled air and people came out to air conditioning theatres in droves, scares ill luck, eight, they all just sit back for a moment. Relax notice, delight, clean and refreshing atmosphere avenue scientifically. Air conditioned bitter great, isn't it this advertisements from the nineteen forties shows a bunch of theatre goers wearing for parkers and icicles. Being from the seal s. There suddenly move
went from being the last place. You'd we'll be on a summer day to being actually one of the nicest places to be, and this whole tradition of having it big movies, a comment in the summer became possible. The summer blockbuster was born, but air conditioning would do a lot more than just create the summer blockbuster. They would dramatically change what people in the United States lived and the design of our buildings and homes, But the air conditioning Revolution didn't happen all at once before world war to a few wealthy elites had air conditioning systems installed in their mentions, but mechanically chilled air was still seen as a luxury, something to be enjoyed at the theater, but something on your own home. But This carrier wanted to change. That in a nineteen twenty nine speech, he said air conditioning and calling for summer may become a necessity rather than a luxury, and we will look, on present times as marking the end of that dark age in which there was but relatively little cooling for human comfort. The big transformation
for air conditioning the really arrives after world war, two like so many stories of technology, really a story about me: translation of terrorism really big and shrinking down early AC systems were massive way too big for an individual, but by the late nineteen forties carrier and other companies were selling air conditioners that could fit in your window, but they were expensive and it wasn't clear at first that people would buy them. I think advertising I had a huge role in the increased use of air conditioning and the residential sector, and which really interesting, is that the advertising really played on the role of women and their social status. This is gale breaker. She
an architecture professor at the: U see: Berkeley, college of environmental design and an expert on thermal comfort. So if you look at the advertising in the nineteen, fifty is a lot of them. Showed women dress like Beaver Cleaver, small with pearls and the gloved hand and trade. Well, and it was really trying to associated social status with air conditioning that if you have air conditioning, you can live this life of leisure and you wouldn't have to sweat with the toy of housework. These adds also played on the idea that, with air conditioning homeowners could take control over nature. Desert. A hundred and ten by day, cool enough to me, the same right, here's an ear Listening commercial from the early nineteenth sixties that takes place in palm springs the maximum test for air conditioning what system works best? Let's asked me this desert showplace may. Dinosaur high
with my year round gas air conditioning by artless. I just touch the thermostat, delightful, cooling or comfortable heat in every way. Humanity, control, destined Paul, unfiltered I am nor climate is always perfect, is very compelling the advertising, and I think that really played on people adopting air conditioning more into the home in nineteen sixty thirteen percent of homes in the United States had a sea. By now eighty, it was up to fifty five percent. Today is those two ninety percent in just a few decades, air conditioning went from luxury to necessity, just as well as carrier predicted the The security of a sea has had a serious impact on how and maybe most profoundly where we live. All of a sudden there, parts United States that had historically been right, Lee unpleasant eleven optically during the summer months that suddenly, because of these american national units are now
the delightful places to the population of it's like Arizona can Florida exploded so in that period after the introduction of of Homeric initialling there is real Arguably one of the largest migrations of people in the history of the nine states, moving from the north to the south. To what we now call, the the sun If you could air conditioning your way through the summer than living in the middle of a desert or a human swamp, was no big deal in just ten years, Tucson Wet from forty five some people to two hundred and ten thousand people. In the same decade, Houston almost doubled its population and Florida during in opening the nineteen twenties had only a million people living there, but fifty years later, there were nearly seven million people in Florida. This mass my was so significant change. The political map increase populations meant states like Florida, got more votes in the electoral college
since a lot of these new southward migrants were conservative retirees they tended to vote Republican. You begin to build this kind of Republican Sunbelt coalition that didn't exist four, and that coalition is really crucial to Reagan's successful bid for the presidency in nineteen. Eighty, there were obviously a lot of different factors that led to Reagan's election, but I think that at air conditioning not been invented, Reagan might still have gotten elected body would have required a different political coalition and make it possible depopulation of somebody boom with the advent of air conditioning, but if as if no one lived in these places. Before I see those who did it lots of strategies to beat the heat, including for vernacular architecture that were carefully attuned. Climate vernacular refers to traditional architecture that develops in a particular place and its often driven by local environmental conditions. Since you look,
traditional building, some hot climates, so leave. The elements are going to be different if you're not I try or hot climate in the desert. So West houses were traditionally built with hefty materials like Adobe and down that can absorb heat soaking up the heat during the day, keeping it from getting inside. And then releasing it to the cold or air. At night homes the southwest also tended to have flat roofs and small windows that can be closed up during the day and opened at night to let the cool area, however, in the Human South EAST. The vernacular architecture tried to maximize shade and air movement. Our screamed in sleeping porches, breeze ways between rooms, an Cooper lies in the roof to draw cool air up through the house, you tend to have much larger windows. Much larger, operable windows to the entire facade could be opened up. You ma have much larger, shaded, porches and Belk
Instead, there is a lot of outdoor living, and so you can. You can look at the architecture and it says something about the place on demand: Cold AIR freed architects, from the challenge of designing a home that was uniquely suited to the climate around it and ass. We got more mechanical systems and the power to heat and cool buildings through mechanical systems. I think architect, started. Relinquishing control of environmental conditioning to the engineers air conditioning systems were expensive, but home builders made up for the costs by cutting down on passive cooling features. Little by little, the local architectural traditions rooted in the climate gave way to Tightly. Sealed mass produced tracked homes, so house in the southwest might lead same as a house in New Orleans, which might look the same as a house in Minnesota, and
whether you are in a hot human, hot, try, coal climate. I think architecture really lost a sense of place. The rise black housing had to do with more than just air conditioning, there was influenced by the development of the highway system in the suburbanization of american life, ac Sea enabled the mass production of affordable homes that could exist in many different climate zones. Her conditioning didn't just change residential architecture, it revolutionise the design of skyscrapers schools and office buildings before air conditioning the only source of cool air was the outdoors, so offices usually had high ceilings. The windows that people could open and so on. Officers had at least one wall that was exposed to the perimeter. You might have court guards in the centre of buildings so that even the built this spaces it worked on the street would have access to the Eu
light on the inside. If you look at the floor plans of many mid rise buildings from the early twentieth century, they often have these thin irregular shapes. They looked like a letter when viewed from above so we sometimes called them alphabet buildings because they ve been the shape and ie and H, and I Oh, but with air conditioning buildings, could fill up the entire lot with offices deep inside the core of the building. Nowhere near a window arrogantly in also changed facade design. Before I see dress the issue of two it's fun. By providing appropriate shading sore awnings two sides were carefully designed to We too much sun coming into a space. This is LISA Hotshot, an architect who spent her career, studying light in architecture when we discovered air conditioning all of a sudden. We have these continuous class facades because we have solved the problem with air conditioning instead of appropriate.
Facade designer building design, just brute force power air conditioner away out of all of these desire, which is now it wasn't all about many modern architects were happy to see the problem of thermal comfort to the engineers. It meant they could focus on aesthetics, and so it was incredibly empowering to architects to be able to relinquish that control. A sea, they were free to design the sleek, hermetically sealed glass towers that became hallmarks of modern is, to say that without air conditioning we would not have many of the great modernism buildings of the twentieth century. Absolutely not, but as a con once the modern built environment in the United States is now totally dependent on air conditioning a lot of our buildings would be uninhabitable in the summer without easy. And all that fool air requires a lot of power we now
use as much electricity for air conditioning as we used for all purposes and nineteen fifty five. This is stand cod author of the book, losing our cool. He says a sea consumption has. Continued to rise from nineteen the three to two thousand and five, the out of electricity used for air conditioning double the nation wide one of the big three was it. Houses were getting larger and virtual all of those newly constructed ones were getting. Central air installed in them. The larger the who the more space needs to be filled with cool air. It's crazy to frank about it to me, hot day. Here in Kansas, there are three thousand square foot houses being kept seventy degrees,
all day long and all the occupants are all fit at work in school, and so it's not cooling, a human being at all in all, That airconditioning might be keeping our buildings cool, but its make the outside world, hotter, the additional greenhouse emissions from air conditioning in the United States at up to about five hundred million tonnes of co2 equivalent per year. He said that's more than the entire construction industry, including the production of materials. Like concretely so it's a very significant amount. In fact, in twenty ten, when stand Cox book, he said the U S was using as much energy for air conditioning as the entire the continent of Africa was using for all purposes and all
all of these structures that require massive amounts of energy to keep cool. We ve been exporting them to the rest of the world, including really hot places like to buy what America has been found: I stick with it. An across the board in terms of design and architecture is making. Brain and exporting it. However, a lot of that architecture is not responsive to the conditions of Middle EAST. This is men at rest, dokey, an indian architect and co founder of the firm morphogenesis based in New Delhi Restock. He says that lot of the buildings in indian cities. Today, look like they could be. Things in any other city around the world sealed up class towers, their work are a lot of air conditioning, but India, all So has a long history of vernacular architecture designed to keep people cool and restore geese started. Looking back at some of these old buildings and thought to a minimum, We used to do this really well in our Not so long bank, why
rebuilding differently. Today, we're study has devoted his. Career to designing functional modern buildings, that borrow passive cooling techniques from traditional indian architecture, and our very little, if any air conditioning like his design for the Pearl Academy of Fashion, so the bull cut of fashion. On the outskirts of Jaipur, which is essentially a desert climate when research He started working on the Pearl Academy. He looked at old, indian buildings in hot dry climates for inspiration. He studied old, forts and palaces to see how they stayed cool and he was particularly impressed by a feature called the boldly, boldly, yes the step well, valleys are traditional indian step wells found in many old palaces, their basically pools of water, dug deep into the ground beneath the building and surrounded on all sides by descending steps, intricately carved from stone,
cool temperatures from underground, combined with the evaporated cooling of the water to lower the temperature in the palace were studied this, Did you put a modern take on this ancient architectural feature in his building to recruited a bold step will across the entire site we done three meters down into the ground and we recycle all the water into that stepper condition and allowed for evaporated cooling to come up and cool the side down. The top of the building is isolated using earthenware pots and the size of the building we, but globally management jollies that keep the son out, but let the lighten the jolly is it no indian Architectural feature it's basically a lot as screen filled with all these tiny holes. That letter if you sunlight without too much heat, and we put all together and when the project finished, we were getting temperature,
twenty nine degrees when the outside temperature was forty six degrees without air conditioning in Fahrenheit. That's eighty four degrees inside the building when it was a hundred and fifteen degrees outside it's still hot, but doable for an office building that doesn't actually sound all doable. To me. That sounds way too. Hot yeah, I think so too, but Bogey says that for someone used to living in Jaipur India, it's a pretty pleasant temperature. He says thermal comfort is relative standards, for what constitutes thermal dumford is where I think the whole problem sort of sets. Orkut and engineers around the world, use thermal comfort standards set by the american society of heating refrigerated an air conditioning engineers, historically, standards have dictated a relatively narrow temperature window that all building should be kept at the only to be certain that a building can meet that standard. All your long is with loss of air conditioning and heating, but if you ve got.
Orton Office. You know that some people are always hot serif, while others Katy are always cold. You will never achieve a static environment, one hundred percent of the people are happy. This is architect, LISA Hotshot, again. There is a huge amount of individual variation in what people experience and what they prefer. Our thermal preferences, very based on age and sex and the climate that were used to, but the whole gold condition buildings is to create a static indoor climate, one temperature that will hope would be the least unpleasant to the most number of people. Gale breaker calls this thermal monotony she and her team that you see Berkeley have developed new thermal comfort standards that allow or a wider range of temperatures within buildings. Breaker doesn't want to get rid of air conditioning altogether, but she thinks we can be
more intentional about when and where we use it. Our environmental conditioning systems think about heating and cooling spaces rather than heating and cooling people, rigorous, as we don't need the heat and cool corridors to the same degree as the parts of it all that's where people spend most of their day and she says we can save enormous amounts of energy by letting the temperatures in buildings fluctuate over a wider range and giving people more tools to heat and call themselves to do that. It's gonna, take combination of high and low tech approaches a window that you can. Been right by your desk is a great personal cooling device. A sweater is a pretty good personal heating device, but rigour and are also developing low energy desk fans, foot wars in the chair, I'm sure and right now you might see these dials. This is a heated and cooled chair, and this to me is the ultimate form of a personal comfort system. We call it pcs because we're all going to feel something
and we could perhaps be sitting in the same environment, but one person may be feeling warm one person, maybe feeling cool, and would you like to sit in this chamber we're going to switch places ago saying that share for a while and relic war. People are getting worse. Or use to heated seats in our cars. Why not have heeded Ed called seats and our officer, I'm gonna rich reach over internet cooling again, and you should feel that already only wow yeah wow, it's blowing air across your back. You see how it so you know I have sometimes had when my backing Reducing our reliance on air conditioning is often frame is a loss giving up comfort, but neither give breaker, more LISA hashing see it that way back in the
Chinese has shown, wrote this beautiful little book called thermal delight in architecture, did she argues that we should think about our perception of temperature as a sense, just any other sense. Temperature can cause us discomfort, but Dick also give us a lot of pleasure or delight the fee a warm fire in the winter or cool breeze on a hot summer. Night or a sliding back into your heated chair after Edra about sighed, she wrote about how The more experience couldn't rich architectural design. Add a new dimension in ever wires change it turns out that physiologically the only way we can have that moment is to actually have some kind of very ability in our lives. Gill breaker
done studies on thermal comfort in buildings around the world and she's down that people actually prefer naturally ventilated buildings where they can open windows and feel a little bit of control over their own temperature turns out. Not only do you tolerate that you actually prefer a wider set of conditions today. The average person spends about nine percent of their time endorse and gale breaker doesn't think we should live so much of our lives and thermal monotony. Imagine life if we ate the same foods every day. If we didn't have changed and whether and everything was the same all the time De terrible. But that's essentially what were trying to do in our buildings towards me?
and if my conversation with gale, I reluctantly offered to divert chair back research. Did you back in Europe any review of thermal the way for the rest of this energy right? Nice is really does not express the as this awful. I like my chair quite then he said special thanks Architects RON, haughty and steal the Danes who also spoke to us this peace?
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tensions with North Korea? The Hawaii emergency Management agency started doing ballistic missile attacks rules, but the other day someone was initiating tests, alert and apparently chose the wrong option from a list of very confusing option. So hurt is here to give us that it does so at eight O. Seven in the morning, ambassador went out to cell phones in Hawaii ballistic missile threat in Mount the Hawaii seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. Within a few minutes, officials knew it was a false alarm and started doing damage control, but natural stand on alert, wasn't issued in tone,
eight forty five or than half an hour after it all began, looks as though officials and news outlets are calling for the person who set off the alarm to to be fired while it, your hosts, even go, bear joked around about the opposite idea. The agency in question also announced that they employ in question was reassign. You'll keep them in that job. He's the one person on the planet who will never ever make that mistake. A design food on Norman, who we talked with about bad door. Design also thinks that focuses too much on the person The basic argument is that if, as that easy to screw up, there's a design problem to be facts- and I think as if to say that we here at nine P, M or members of the church of Don Norman, hey man,
and really there are a number of Zion issues here. It was really easy to make this mistake and send out. The alert is also too hard to retract it or issue correction and then there's this lack of detail. The message like where to find shelter or you know, phone numbers are linked to websites that might help people get updates, are more information, so people panicked and many fearing the worst called love ones to say, good bye, which has just tragic. I mean this is a very high stakes, design problem. A lot of solutions are being flooded. Some have called for introducing more friction to the process, to slow things down and help avoid accidents, MAC involved, adding steps limiting lists of nearly identical options like they have right now. In favour of more clearly differentiated buttons. We have you no different button sizes and colors all with the goal of making the test initiation easier and more obvious than sending an actual alert. So already the phasing out of these issues like creating a path to send out a correction more quickly and from here
a second step. Person also needs to confirm a given selection, but some his aces solutions. I think, to focus too much on human error or retracting the alerts link after the fact, and not really taken the design problem on pet on its Tully. True, the process really has to be redesigned from start to finish and some of these changes are in the works like having longer messages that also have emergency links and numbers Even then, though, they need actually test the system more often so that people are familiar with the know how to react during this accidental or was discovered too. That a number of emergency sirens played the wrong tune or just failed entirely veil, both as a false alarm and as an actual of my ribs yeah, it was reported that only seven percent failed the signal what ended up being a false alarm, but that still seemed just unnecessarily high. But I think we can all agree that we need to lay off the boar sucker
push their online. I definitely that guy is, I just hope. His name never comes out. No me to meet you. Aren't they hurt thanks you want to get gout even more about alarm design, be sure to check out the mini stories for episode from last week. It's a bummer, ninety nine percent. Invisible was produced this week by Emit Fitzgerald Mix into production by Sharif. Use of music by real kitty mingle is the senior producer her, that is, the digital director thrust. A demon who'd senior editor joining hall average of my term Massa and me roman mothers, we are brought it. No one point: seven K, L W in San produced on radio row in beautiful, downtown, Oakland, California,
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.