I suppose it is a little whimpy to want air conditioning, but I’m just not that much of a frontiersman.
Here in the south, it is pretty miserable without it. I imagine the same is true in Australia, and elsewhere.
But air conditioning kicks energy demand to a whole new level.
I am wondering if any of you have tackled this challenge, and what kind of solutions you have come up with.
So far, I am thinking that if you have the luxury of new construction, then you can incorporate passive technologies to significantly help with this problem.
But beyond that, you will still need some sort of air conditioning (short of living in a cave).
From what I understand, air conditioning based on vapor compression of refrigerants is the most efficient way to transport heat, and those which have a ground source or water source heat exchanger are the most efficient of these.
This contrasts with absorption cycle air conditioners, such as ammonia-water systems, which are about 80% less efficient, but are more easily implemented, and have the additional advantage of merely needing a heat source rather than electricity to run a compressor.
Swamp coolers are great in arid areas, but won’t do in places like the Southern US, with our high humidity.
Based on these observations, I am thinking that a well insulated and well shaded house (possibly partially underground) with a high efficiency vapor-compression air conditioning system is the way to go.
I would also observe that an additional consideration for system resiliency is the ability to “do it yourself.” Most refrigerants are heavily regulated and may be difficult for the layman to obtain. I notice that Propane works as a good refrigerant, although it has the down-side of being flammable.