Writing for the Goodman Institute Health Blog, Devon Herrick observes that 90 percent of American homes have air conditioning, compared to 10 percent of European homes.
“Why have Europeans shunned air conditioning? There are many reasons, some practical, some due to cost, some due to architecture while some is due to geography. Culture is also to blame but that is probably a function of the aforementioned factors. For instance, it’s not easy to retrofit A/C units to buildings not designed for them. Many of the apartment buildings in Europe are more than 50 years old and mini-split A/C units don’t always blend in with the architecture.
“Politics also plays a role whether people cool their homes mechanically. New building codes in the United Kingdom, for example, limit mechanical cooling as the last resort. . . . Europeans are prone to cite climate change and the environment as a primary factor why they won’t install air conditioners.”
Herrick concludes: “Although there are many factors that make air conditioning less prevalent in Europe, the bottom line is most cannot afford it due to public policies that discourage it. Indeed, air conditioning is a luxury product.”