Invented then abandoned. In 1820, British scientist and inventor Michael Faraday discovered that compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when the liquefied ammonia was allowed to evaporate. In 1842, Florida physician John Gorrie used compressor technology to create ice, which he used to cool air for his patients in his hospital in Apalachicola, Florida. He hoped eventually to use his ice-making machine to regulate the temperature of buildings. He even envisioned centralized air conditioning that could cool entire cities. Though his prototype leaked and performed irregularly, Gorrie was granted a patent in 1851. His hopes for its success vanished soon afterwards when his chief financial backer died; Gorrie did not get the money he needed to develop the machine, dying impoverished in 1855. The idea of air conditioning faded away for 50 years. [Source: Wikipedia.org.]
Fireplaces are nothing new
Introduced during the 12th century, the fireplace chimney was sufficiently high above the building roof to provide adequate draft for the fire. Stoves and braziers of various types were developed by the ancient Romans and are still used in some parts of the world. [Source: History.com Encyclopedia: Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning.]
Radiant Heating – Do as the Romans do!
The energy-efficient principles of radiant floor heating are nothing new. The Romans used radiant floor heating more than two thousand years ago. In one example, in a fortress built by King Herod at Masada in Israel, the floors were laid out as a series of stone slabs raised up on pedestals, with a furnace located below the floor. By placing the fire here, the draught would take the heat under the floor, and up through the walls to chimneys located in the corners of the building. Other examples of their ingenuity abound in Roman ruins throughout the Empire. Roman technology that harnesses the heat and puts it where it is needed most clearly demonstrates that a radiant heat system has proven to be the most comfortable and efficient heating system throughout the centuries. [Source: Lawrence Drake, Radiant Heating Panel, Executive Director]
Cave Dwellers used Geothermal Cooling!
Around 10,000 B.C., hunters and gatherers were making homes in cool caves and even building burrows underground to escape the heat. Today much of the world is using similar geothermal cooling where pipes bring natural temperatures to the surface.
Egyptians created Water-Cooled Air Conditioning!
Ancient Egyptians hung wet reeds from their windows in order to cool the breeze that blew inside implementing water-cooled air conditioning! It no doubt helped them beat the heat of the extremely warm Nile River valley.
Ancient Greeks and Romans had ducting systems!
Water pipes from aqueducts were used by the Ancient Greeks to create central heating and cooling. The Romans developed that idea further with a hypocaust system. They used mosaic tiled stone floors in their public bathhouses and luxury villas supported by columns. Heated air was transported through the space underneath to warm the interior of the structures just like modern HVAC systems do through ductwork.
Chinese invented handheld fans!
About 3,000 years ago they realized moving air naturally cools the skin. Hand-powered rotary fans came later, and fans are central to most contemporary air conditioning systems.
Middle Eastern architecture Featured Cooling Towers!
Traditional Middle Eastern buildings often had towers built over channels of cool air underground. These towers were built for catching and circulating cool breezes, drawing the cool air up from the channels and pushing warm air out. Updated cooling towers still exist today for cooling large buildings.
The Victorians understood airflow!
Victorian homes were built to maximize airflow. They kept out the sun with covered porches, had cross ventilation through large recessed windows and had high ceilings. Cross ventilation and airflow are still important components of successful cooling.