First off, I know I’m preaching to the choir and that EVERYONE is tired of it being ungodly hot in our makerspace. And I apologize if this conversation is already being had in other spaces, both virtual or in person. I don’t want this to sound like a rant or that I’m demanding some action be taken. I simply want to create a thread where we can discuss possibilities of air-conditioning and other ways of making the space more pleasant to do what it’s meant for–to make!
With temperatures regularly in the upper nineties and even 100s, I don’t find the makerspace to be usable most days of the week, if at all. It’s legitimately dangerous to be inside at the height of the day and I worry about our older members if they choose to work in these environments. I was working in the woodshop and got dizzy and just had to call it a day. And as we’re actively trying to recruit new members, the prospect of doing so while inviting them into our current space seems daunting.
I think the best short-term solution would be to include some window units. Perhaps each area could do some of their own fundraising to buy one for their space. I’d personally be happy to spend another $15 a month to help offset higher utility bills if it meant actually being able to use the space from June through August–I’m sure others would agree. And I’m not talking about getting every area down to a comfortable 70 degrees, either. Just something to bring it down so that it’s not unbearable.
Long-term, I think our space has an incredible opportunity for solar power. I just got an estimate for my own home and I was surprised at the financing plans and how much power my house could generate even in a pretty shaded area in Riverside. Think about the amount of energy we could put back in the grid on our roof! It would be a minimal expense when compared to soaring utility bills. Another long-term solution is geo-thermal air-conditioning. There are DIY ways of doing this that we could explore that would help to circulate cool air. Going this route would greatly diminish the long-term costs and repair bills of air-conditioning and traditional HVAC, too. It would also help greatly in the winter to keep our bills down.
I don’t want to propose a problem without being a part of the solution. Climate change is very real and it’s only going to get hotter. Heat waves that stretch into weeks if not months will probably be common in the plains. It gets to a point where the heat really has the possibility to do damage to our infrastructure. We’re already seeing this in other places. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start planning and I’m happy to help with solutions.