AC, Big or Small?

With summer on the way, Brian Palmer over at Slate Magazine ponders the relative environmental merits of central air conditioning versus in-window air conditioners. It's a thoughtful analysis, although one that doesn't really reach a definitive conclusion. Here's where Palmer lands: Because of the construction and behavioral variables, it's impossible to pronounce a winner in this particular competition. As is often the case, the choice is often going to come down to each consumer's behavior. Generally speaking, the newfangled ductless system is going to be the most efficient but priciest option upfront. If you're choosing between an old-school central air system and window units, the latter could be better if you're childless, live in a large home in a dry environment, or tend to be forgetful about adjusting your thermostat.

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