As the world’s climate heats up, will we continue to use more energy-intensive air conditioning, generating ever-higher greenhouse gas emissions? It’s a valid question for the first full day of summer, considering that the average American household already uses 2,822 kWh of energy each year to cool off, spending $276 a year. The answer will likely depend on building efficiency measures and new cooling technologies like these efficient new bladeless fans announced today by Sir James Dyson, of vacuum fame. The inventor’s new fan is the opening salvo, he says, in his war on air conditioning.

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The fan works like a jet engine, sucking air into a cyclone accelerator that amplifies it 15 to 18 times before blowing it out over an airfoil-shaped ramp. As that air is blown out, more is sucked in from behind. With no blades, the airstream is smooth and the contraption is easy to clean and more difficult to break one’s finger in (just sayin’). The fan runs on a modest 40-watt motor.

Dyson’s fans may not be the final answer to staying cool in a warming climate, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction.

+ Dyson