So can I use my air-conditioner guilt free?
Not quite. Air-conditioning presents other problems: As of 2009, nearly 90 percent of American homes have air-conditioners, which account for about 6 percent of all the country’s residential energy use. All that air-conditioning releases about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
According to historians and others, the widespread availability of air-conditioning has allowed for more development in the hotter parts of the country — the South and the Southwest — where air-conditioning use is the highest in the country.
And once developers could rely on heating and cooling technologies, they often built less energy-efficient homes, which means that you have to use more air-conditioning or heating to get to the temperature you want.