Malaysia’s ‘cheapest’ hotel – the Air Asia branded ‘Tune Hotels’ – offer an interesting pricing model. Rooms are incredibly inexpensive – often very close to free – and offer minimal comforts. Air conditioning, excess electricity, and other ‘luxuries’ are charged on their own, with visitors presented a bill upon checkout.
The two-tier pricing makes it seem as if air conditioning is a taxing extra expense, costing hotels thousands of dollars monthly. In reality, an air conditioning service is relatively cost-effective, and certainly not the power guzzler that many people believe it to be.
American air conditioning company AeroSys were one of several to learn that air conditioning must be cheap, after their units were withdrawn from the market due to excess electricity usage. Despite the cost-inflating behaviour of ageing air conditioning units, newer air conditioners are required to maintain a certain power level by law.
This leaves the actual cost of air conditioning at very low rates. When used correctly, an effective air conditioner can cool an entire home for less than two pounds daily. Energy conservation advocates claim that expensive power bills are often the result of air conditioning misuse, not the unit itself.
Small changes such as fan strength and room temperature can greatly influence electricity usage, with high-power fans and extreme temperatures drawing more power than moderate use. The message for consumers is clear – air conditioning isn’t expensive, except when used ineffectively. With the right strategy, air conditioning can be a cooling method no more expensive than the average ceiling fan.