Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A COOL IDEA? The old air conditioner in my apartment had a really tough time dealing with the heat last week. I had to flee the stuffiness afternoons and evenings. Even the old refrigerator seemed to be straining to keep its own cool. I made a mental note to discuss the situation with my super at some point.

Meanwhile, Con Edison and Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to be very, very careful about their electrical consumption. There was even the suggestion that unplugging devices on stand-by could make a big difference!

Old air conditioner. Old refrigerator. Electrical conservation. Eureka!

Here's what I consider a cool idea: The city and Con Ed should consider subsidizing the benefits of replacing of old energy-sucking refrigerators and air conditioners with new appliances that are more efficient.

A wacky concept? Perhaps. But not entirely unprecedented. After the 9/11 attacks, FEMA set aside money for New York City residents to buy air conditioners as well as air purifiers and vacuum cleaners. I agree with critics who felt that the eligibility criteria were not discriminatory enough, but the fact remains that the program existed and gave a boost to the retailers and the residents who took advantage of it.

I think that a city-wide upgrading of refrigerators and air conditioners could be more of a win-win situation for everyone. Someone will have to do some number-crunching on this, but if all the old refrigerators and air-conditioners were replaced with more efficient models, wouldn't the city be better off in terms of energy conservation? Couldn't the funding come from Con Ed (in lieu of one or more law suits)? Wouldn't residents and retailers be better off?

Perhaps I'm missing something. Comments, anyone?

PS: Of course I also support buildings and building modifications aimed at efficient heating and cooling. I also think that camping out should be encouraged, and that cool public venues (i.e. movie theaters, playhouses, restaurants) should offer discounts to draw people during heat waves. And don't get me started regarding the lights of Times Square....

1 comment:

David said...

There actually are subsidies, rebates, and loans for things like this. Plus of course the overall savings in electricity costs. For example, here is a loan program