U.S. proposes phasing out HFCs in air conditioners to protect environment

Aros smart air conditioner
Air conditioning is one of the biggest contributors to global warming in the United States, which itself ranks second among nations when it comes to contributing to global warming. Since the gases used in most air conditioners aren’t great for the environment, the U.S. is proposing phasing those gases out in developed countries by 2019, and in developing countries by 2021.

As much as there is a lot of carbon dioxide produced by powering the air conditioners that 90 percent of Americans have in their homes, it’s the fact that they use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as their refrigerant that’s being targeted. It doesn’t tend to get out, but if it does, it’s bad news for the atmosphere, since HFCs trap a hell of a lot more heat inside the atmosphere than other greenhouse gases like CO2.

They’re a lot better than the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) they replaced, because those gases were chewing through the Earth’s ozone, but HFCs are still not very environmentally friendly. Since their introduction in the 1990s, there’s been a trend of them leaking out during the manufacturing process, or when improperly disposed of.

Moving forward, the U.S. wants to (domestically and internationally) roll out the adoption of alternatives, like hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs)  which break down much more rapidly in the atmosphere (per NYTimes), so if they do leak, they won’t cause anywhere near the same amount of damage — at least in theory.

The U.S. is proposing that all developed countries start shifting manufacturing over to replacements for HFCs by 2019. India, which as a developing nation would be beholden to the 2021 start date, has requested an extension. It’s far from the greenhouse gas emitter that the U.S. or China are, but it’s expected to see an explosion in its air conditioning market in the coming years and doesn’t want to shoulder the extra expense of newer compounds for its refrigerants.

Environmental agencies have argued, however, that it may be more economical to switch to newer, more expensive compounds in the near future, since building an industry around HFCs, only to be forced to change over to something in the future any way, could prove far more costly.

The end result for consumers is possibly more expensive air conditioning units in the future, but they should be more efficient and much more environmentally friendly. Just make sure you dispose of your current one properly before switching.

Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Smart Home

Publish a new Alexa skill this month and Amazon will give you an Echo Dot

Amazon' Alexa group announced a promotion encouraging new developers to publish a new Alexa skill in any country First-time developers who publish a new an Alexa skill prior to midnight October 31, 2018, will get a free Echo Dot.
Smart Home

Alexa will trick or greet you with custom doorbells this Halloween

Amazon released new Alexa-compatible smart doorbell application tools for developers. These let smart cameras and doorbells use motion sensing and doorbell presses to start Alexa Routines.

A public/private autonomous driving institute blooms under the Arizona sun

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), partnering government, academic, and private organizations to develop self-driving tech and safety standards. Intel is the first private-sector member.
Smart Home

August Smart Lock satin nickel model comes bundled with Wi-Fi Connect bridge

The August Smart Lock--one of our favorite smart locks--is now available in a satin nickel finish. August is selling the new model in a $220 bundle with the Wi-Fi bridge needed for remote access and voice command features.
Smart Home

LG’s Colosseo smart sofa is the comfiest piece of tech in your home

LG has partnered with Italian furniture brand Natuzzi to produce the Colosseo, a connected sofa with five custom scenarios to provide maximum comfort for watching TV, reading, or just relaxing.
Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Smart Home

Simplisafe steps outside the smart home with its Video Doorbell Pro

SimpiSafe is pushing into the smart home market by introducing a new high-tech video doorbell that includes 1080p HD monitoring and a dual-sensor motion trigger that combines a body heat detector and a motion detector.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo vs. Echo Plus: Which should you get?

If you're trying to choose between the Amazon Echo or the Echo Plus, then this guide is for you. It compares the two Alexa-enabled speakers in cost, size, looks, functionality, and more.

Add color and subtract $50 with this Philips Hue lighting starter kit deal

If you've been on the fence about purchasing smart lightbulbs, Amazon is selling the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit for just $100. For a limited time Amazon is also offering a bundle deal of Philips Hue's White and Color…
Smart Home

Second-gen vs. third-gen Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot was just released. Is it worth upgrading your second-generation Echo Dot? Here, we take a closer look at the two devices to see how much Amazon has improved its flagship Alexa voice assistant smart…
Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.