The Air Conditioned Village

In the early part of the 20th century, air conditioning was new and expensive, and only used in commercial buildings. People would go to see bad movies just because the theater was air-conditioned. Window units gradually became popular, but they usually weren’t enough to cool an entire house. Would central air conditioning be feasible for single-family homes? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) wanted to find out, so they teamed up with the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s to build an entire subdivision, 22 homes of different configurations, in Allandale, Texas, to test residential central air. Many different A/C manufacturers took part.

Despite the many unorthodox construction methods, NAHB found no shortage of buyers. The houses were sold to willing families who agreed that researchers could observe various aspects of their home life for one year. Research addressed issues such as electricity usage, effectiveness of insulation, and various energy efficiency issues relating to the design of the houses. After the one-year-long study was over, the NAHB reported that families spent more time at home, slept longer, took on hobbies, improved their appetites, and were generally happy. The women from the Austin Air-Conditioned Village reported less dirt and dust in the house, which in turn allowed the use of previously considered luxuries such as white rugs, curtains, and upholstery.

The results made a world of difference for people living in the South from that point on. Read about the air-conditioned village at Amusing Planet.

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Source: neatorama

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