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CIty Aircon

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So, I am currently in Washington, and it's September. For reasons completely underknown to me, you Americans have chosen to build your capitol in a place which is inconveniently warm for much of the year.

The result, of course, is that practically every single room in the city, as well as every vehicle, is air-conditioned to within a ninch of its life.

All this aircon is probably one of the reasons why it is so damned hot outside - all that pumped heat has to go somewhere. It must also be incredibly inefficient, energetically, and has the added additional drawback that life can really only take place indoors.


Clearly, it would make little sense to try to air-condition a garden or a terrace: the smallest breeze would simply disperse the coolth. Moveovermore, the cold air would simply sink and spread out sideways, bringing warmer air in to replace it. You would, at best, create a shallow puddle of coolth.

Scale this up, though, and things start to look better. The larger the air-conditioned volume, the slower the coolth will be dissipated by wind or sinkage.

For something the size of Washington, I very strongly suspect that the energy needed to air-condition the whole city (up to, say, 200ft above ground) would be much less than that needed to air-condition each of the cars and buildings individually. Plus, the streets would be habitable as well - a complete bonus.

Obviously, the waste heat would have to be dumped somewhere, but this should not be a problem. Massive vertical tubes of lightweight polythene could carry the waste hot-air up to a height of several hundred metres - the airflow alone would support the tubes, a la spacehose. It should even be possible to recapture some of the energy, either turbinically or using the temperature differential between the top of the tube and the surrounding (cool, high-altitude) air.

MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 20 2016

Burning of Washington https://en.wikipedi...rning_of_Washington
It can be very hot at times ... [8th of 7, Sep 21 2016]

Similar to idea http://www.ebay.com...hn=ps&ul_noapp=true
Extra points for having a deranged Trump likeness on the hot air exhaust portion. [whatrock, Sep 22 2016]

Space Hose Turns out to be an N-Prize idea, too [notexactly, Sep 23 2016]


       // chosen to build your capitol in a place which is inconveniently warm for much of the year. //   

       It is, however, fortuitously placed to allow ships to sail up the Potomac and disembark troops, if you should want, just as an example, to attack and loot the city and burn the White House ...
8th of 7, Sep 21 2016

       But the Americans have had the good sense to mitigate the extremes of temperature you get in Washington D.C. by providing an alternative, back-up Washington in the north-west of the country with a very different climate - that's where you should be.
hippo, Sep 21 2016

       (what [hippo] said)   

       and also, it's not hot there all year long...duh. Do you see any palm trees?
xandram, Sep 21 2016

       /Massive vertical tubes of lightweight polythene could carry the waste hot-air up to a height of several hundred metres - the airflow alone would support the tubes, a la spacehose./   

       I like this. I suspect cleaners bags originally are produced in exactly such a tube. Assuming the expelled air is hotter than the ambient there would be a buoyancy factor also. This aspect of the project could be done with existing air conditioning units.
bungston, Sep 21 2016

       //to within a ninch of its life.   

       <...flicks through SI system of units manual with a puzzled expression..>   

       <..later thought, impact of chandelier on derrière affects typing performance.....huh?>   

       NB I claim my prize, you cunningly concealed "Cacti Irony" as City Aircon...
not_morrison_rm, Sep 21 2016

       The solution, of course, is simply to wait until Trump is elected, cover all of Washington in an airtight, clear dome, and wait. Concerns over oxygen supply and temperature will soon resolve themselves.
RayfordSteele, Sep 21 2016

       Encircling the city with a wall a la Trump would help in retaining the coolth, though, as a local resident, I strongly suspect someone would immediately start filling it with water.
whatrock, Sep 21 2016

       //The larger the air-conditioned volume, the slower the coolth will be dissipated by wind or sinkage.// - so a planetary air-con system would be even more efficient?
hippo, Sep 21 2016

       Just some reflective heat sinks a few thousand miles above the polar ice caps. That's all we need.
RayfordSteele, Sep 21 2016

       Per [8th]'s link, attempts to destroy gunpowder with water resulted in an explosion. It seems that your expertise could have been useful, [8th].   

       " In the afternoon of August 25, General Ross sent two hundred men to secure a fort on Greenleaf's Point. The fort, later known as Fort McNair, had already been destroyed by the Americans, but 150 barrels of gunpowder remained. While the British were trying to destroy it by dropping the barrels into a well, the powder ignited. As many as thirty men were killed in the explosion, and many others were maimed.[32] "
normzone, Sep 21 2016

       // your expertise could have been useful, [8th]. //   

       Yes, we could have recorded it in 3D and Dolby ...   

       We love it when you humans screw up badly. SO funny.
8th of 7, Sep 21 2016

       Good luck in Washington..... I thought it was a tip, and as boring as a sink full of damp newspapers featuring headlines about new nail fungus treatments.
xenzag, Sep 21 2016

       Tell me more of this "spacehose" please. The concept you mention in passing reminds me of solar updraft towers, and also of an idea I came across many years ago and have since been unable to refind (searching here, [wbeaty]'s site, and anywhere else I can think of) for causing rain on a desert island using a buoyancy- or updraft-supported clear plastic tube that would somehow create a raincloud at the top. I have been trying to refind this idea because it may be applicable to one of my own as-yet-incomplete ideas.
notexactly, Sep 22 2016

       [xenzag] have you ever considered working within the tourism industry? Your natural energy and enthusiasm that would place you well among its citizenry I'm sure.   

       I rather like the architectural solutions arrived at by the Moors and their neighbours, high-walled courtyards featuring splashing water features, the evaporation of which draws heat out and away, leaving behind only coolth.
zen_tom, Sep 22 2016

       // I thought it was a tip, and as boring as a sink full of damp newspapers featuring headlines about new nail fungus treatments. //   

       To be able to give such a positive review, you obviously restricted you visit to the "nice" parts of town.
8th of 7, Sep 22 2016

       How about a liquid N2/O2 misting system, citywide?   

       Timing and location of coolth deployment will serve to minimize the need for a coolth barrier along the border of the lowered entropy zone. Incoming and outgoing waves of air will meet within the city, rather than one giant blob of coolth being airdropped in the middle.   

       Generating the coolth requires adding hot air somewhere, and since government facilities are already at maximum, might I suggest sending blobs of the stuff straight up (capturing some energy on the way). This will not only remove heat, but provide much needed thermal updrafts for glider pilots.
TIB, Sep 22 2016

       When warmth and coolth meet mightn't rain resulth?
whatrock, Sep 22 2016

       hmm, how would the air conditioning actually be achieved? Building sized condensers? They'd make a racket shirley? Also, perhaps the biggest problem with this kind of weather (for I suffer similarly) is that it doesn't cool down at night... because the air over the east coast at night originated in a carolina armpit or some such horror. Might a series of two way lightweight tunnels be constructed? Exchanging the cool arid air of, say, Colorado (Denver, currently 13C). They would benefit from the heat, humidity and subsequent rain, Washington gets the cool and dry.
bs0u0155, Sep 22 2016

       //Good luck in Washington..... I thought it was a tip, and as boring as a sink full of damp newspapers//   

       Actually, I was very favourably impressed by Washington, given my somewhat jaundiced view of many parts of the US. First and foremost it is a big city, with the usual features of big cities - which you either like or don't like.   

       However, many parts of the city are respectably old, and some of the buildings are truly elegant - there's a lot of stone and columns and greekery going on there. Maybe a little bit grandiose in places, but elegant nonetheless; and who would begrudge a little grandiosity for a nation's capital? The strip that runs from the Lincoln memorial up through the Washington monument is quite spectacular. There's also the Georgetown area, which is a bit like an English market town; it's a bit chi-chi nowadays, but then again so are many English market towns.   

       Beyond that, many of the restaurants are quite civilized (albeit overpriced), and the people are generally friendly and polite. There may be parts of the town that are otherwise, but I didn't find it so.   

       //Tell me more of this "spacehose" please.// It came up here, I think (and it wasn't my idea, btw). The idea is that you have a flexible tube, and you pump air up it (or let hot air rise up it). The airflow supports the structure partly by pressure and also by friction on the walls. The result, at least on paper, is that you can make the hose of any height you like without using remarkable materials. So, you could make a sort of floppy space elevator, for instance. It's a bit like those flappy inflatable things they sometimes use for advertising.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 22 2016

       // flappy inflatable things they sometimes use for advertising. //   

       Michael Winner ?
8th of 7, Sep 22 2016

       My grandchildren live there, so for me, it's the center of the Universe. I love DC. But then, I'm stuck in the bowels of the country in the REALLY hot part of the Midwest.
blissmiss, Sep 22 2016

       Being stuck in a bowel must be especially taxing in hot weather.   

       Washington strikes me as being what New York could have been if it had the funding.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 23 2016

       Ah, there it is: [link]
notexactly, Sep 23 2016

       Kind of lucky for New York, then.   

       It's probably time to dismantle D.C. en masse and rebuild it somewhere that isn't prone to heatwaves, snowstorms and hurricanes - somewhere with a mild, pleasant climate, away from seismic faults, volcanos, tornados and other extreme weather events.   

       Is there actually anywhere like that in the lower 49 ?   

       // the REALLY hot part of the Midwest //   

       That's probably all the burning crosses the KKK keep lighting ...
8th of 7, Sep 23 2016

       I believe the KKK has switched to solar-powered LED crosses, rather than actual burning ones. More environmentally responsible.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 23 2016

       // Is there actually anywhere like that in the lower 49 ? //   


       I'm thinking Arizona. Blisteringly hot summers, chilly winters (no humidity to moderate temps), flat, arid, bleached, scrub vegetation, it looks kinda like Mars. Only the bold and rugged, brave politicians (are there any?) will live here. Put an end to all this damn over-indulgent upper- echelon self-important mollycoddling. And Arizona is an open carry state.   

       Then we can blow up DC and start over.   

       Edit: Oops, did I say that? What I meant was, dismantle the District and rebuild it to current specs.
whatrock, Sep 23 2016

       // Then we can blow up DC //   

       We'll vote for that...   

       // and start over. //   

       ... but not for that.
8th of 7, Sep 23 2016

       And somewhere a chime tone pierces the air, and an NSA intern hurries over to check on something ...   

       " It's just the Halfbakery again ... "
normzone, Sep 23 2016


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