Are the French going to massively equip air conditioners? The issue is not settled. The makers say highlighting the increased sales of 30% between 2002 and 2003 and counting on the continuation of this trend in 2004. ADEME (Association of Environment and Energy Management) moderates this figure by pointing out that this increase is explained by the low level of equipment from the residential park. "Moreover, we do not know exactly what proportion of independent professionals in the sales, adds Michel Carré engineer ADEME Nothing says that there really is a craze on the part of individuals for these products. "According to a Sofres poll conducted after the dog days of summer 2003, 80% of respondents claimed not to want to equip air conditioning system.
France could therefore remain an exception in industrialized countries with much higher equipment rates. The hexagon represents only 2% of the global air conditioning market, against 29% for the United States. And this relative under-equipment is rather good news for the environment because air conditioners are very polluting systems, especially if they are not treated properly. "It's not so much the energy consumed by these devices that remains relatively low, notes Michel Carré, that the presence of refrigerants inside that are greenhouse gases 1 500 times more harmful than the CO2. "
According to the specialist, not only air conditioners almost always suffer from leakage problems (very important in cars), but the fluids are often not recovered from end of life equipment. A charge reject professionals. "The recovery of the fluids is a legal obligation dating back to the decree of December 7 1992 and installers to meet," says Pascal Folempin, deputy general delegate of an association of air conditioner manufacturers.
Still ADEME advises individuals to think carefully before fitting. "The air conditioning is not inevitable, even in the south of France," notes the practical guide "Summer Comfort" recently published by the agency and available on the Internet (see below). Experts list many alternatives and very concrete solutions to protect themselves from heat, keep the freshness or create cold. protection side, windows and shutters must remain closed, protected west facade (eg trees) and well secured isolation between any glass parts (such as conservatories) and the rest of the house. Cool side, ADEME confesses his weakness for hanging ceiling fans and invites individuals to not buy air conditioner only from professionals.
The ADEME guide: