Skip navigation

A/C Considerations


A/C Considerations

Hey BW Membership!

I know this heat wave is pretty brutal, but A/C is also brutal on our energy bill. Because of this, I would like to ask everyone to consider a couple things:

  1. If you desire A/C, please concentrate activity in the Kitchen, Co-Working Area and Co-Working Loft as much as possible.
  2. If you are the only one in an A/C-ed area, please consider turning off the A/C in that space and relocating to another space.
  3. Consider working earlier and/or later in the day when the heat has lessened.
  4. I know the Wiki-space is very hot, but that room leaks air like a sieve. At this point, I do ask that we forgo A/C back there. That space needs to have all 5 units on to be anywhere near efficient, which means we need to cool the entire space to have any effect. Having one unit on in one space won't cut it back there. Furthermore, we have checked on the Wiki-Space a number of times in the last 48 hours and found the A/C with no one in the space. This needs to stop.

Thanks for your consideration.


Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


Hello Everyone! Sorry for the posting traffic...

In response to the AC: 

The wiki space is used by a number of people to accomplish various projects some of these projects cannot be relocated, and may require conditioned air and humidity levels.  Over the holiday I ran some tests on the AC system.  First, there are only 3 functioning AC units but they were able to lower the humidity and temperature to an acceptable level (84 F) in a reasonable amount of time. 

Second, after reaching a tolerable temperature/humidity we cut the AC and circulated the conditioned air with the ceiling fans to determine how well it would retain—and it worked very well.  Third we reconnected a massive exhaust fan in the front space that can remove hot stagnant air more effectively and is excellent to prep the workshop prior to AC

Lastly, in early morning (9am) today we cycled the AC on to prepare for the day's heat.  We are trying to understand the AC system's capabilites and limitations and how best to efficiently keep the workshop operational for those who are required to work here. Next we are testing the ability to zone conditioning further optimize the efficiencies of the system. I have been closely monitoring the usage and results of operation and have been on-site for all but a brief time this morning from 9am til 11am.

Our goal is to plan for "work days" in the wiki shop where members can combine schedules and share the space. Also, this knowledge can be helpful to precondition the space for poterntial new member tours as no one will find a hot humid workspace suitable... but most everyone will work together to maximize efficiencies.

I appoligize for the lack of communication Tim and James... I had planned to meet this morning after working on the bees from 5am til 10am... as we, like Kat, Goeff and others are rearranging our schedules to minimze our impact.

Thanks for the notice


PS I also swapped out my deluxe Frigidare for the ktchen fridge (bee nice t it)... Its got alot more space and efficiencies... one being an ice dispensor... we have no water hook-up but if we put bags of ice in the icebox, it will dispense from the door... enjoy. Next up, the rooftop arbor tellace on the deck and the edible lattice fence... woo hoo!




Work days or hours with AC/Exaust fans running in the Wiki Space during heat bursts would be very beneficial.  As long as it does not cause undue burden on the electricity bill and we all are conscious of our usage and the costs of staying cool.  I volunteer to call WE and pester them for usage data for the past 2 days..

I was in the Wiki Workshop yesterday trying to get some work done before the heat of the day set in when Charlie started looking at the system.  Later, when he reported the AC was operational and the temp had dropped to 84 in about 1 hour, I admit I felt something like hero worship :)



Good work team! Charlie, thanks for taking lead on this one!

Let's spend some time on this and come up with an A/C policy. Can't have people dying, but we can't quite support blasting A/C at all hours. I do think it would be cool to find alternatives to consumptive A/C, but that is a ways out, according to Charlie's input.


I've set the thermostats to go to 79 at 8am, and 85 at 8:30pm. The 85 degree temp in the evening is just meant to shut the system down on the theory that after 8:30 (generally after sunset) it won't climb much after the AC goes off. 

To keep costs low it would be best to a) set the temp as high as acceptable, and b) avoid letting the building, and all of the stuff in it (about a metric ecto-poopload of mass) get much hotter than that target temp. 

To put it another way, given days in the high 80's & 90's, it's probably better to keep the building at 78 or 79 than to open the windows in the morning, and then try to cool it down when it gets too hot in the afternoon.

If we can find someone with a clamp-on ameter, and access to the circuits feeding the AC we can calculate the cost per hour of running the system pretty easily. Using audio recording we can track how much time the system spends running. Between those two, testing various configurations shouldn't be too hard.


One of us from the Makerspace can loan you a clamp-on ammeter.

Also, I have a "leak detector" that you can use to check air infiltration in the building. It uses chalk dust to track air currents (very low tech).



Steve, let's do this ammeter thing. Ron, could you hook us up?

Found this interesting article today.



Will you be around on Friday?

I have a cheap clamp-meter at the Makerspace, and Tom Gralewicz has a better one.

If  it's 3-phase, it requires a bit of math, but it's not complicated.

Re: the Rodale article-- it also helps to know how long it takes the A/C to cool the place down. A programmable thermostat lets you turn it on before you get there.



Steve, could you a verification round on the A/C units? We had the one in the co-working unit fixed, but they had to rewire a bit so the it got zeroed out. I also think we need to tweak the one in the kitchen. It got damn cold the other day.

If not, just let me know.


Sure, probably Friday night. Steve Duncan +1 414-839-5572
Need help?


The blog lets your team communicate by posting updates and discussing issues. It is a great place for sharing progress, discussing challenges, and exploring ideas.