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GSDs Kiel Moe talks air conditioning, historically and today, with Science Friday

Kiel Moe, associate professor of architecture and energy at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, joined the nationally broadcast radio show Science Friday last week to discuss air conditioning on a global scale, touching on both its history and its contemporary state. 

A focus of the interview was how to condition and cool air in sustainable, energy-efficient ways. Speaking with host Ira Flatow, Moe revealed interesting historical examples of people working to keep cities and homes cool, like importing piles of snow from mountains. He also offered modern-day solutions to cooling our homes and our actual bodies in lower-energy ways, including smarter use of materials like concrete and wood.

Moe, who is also a codirector of the GSD's Master in Design Studies program, pointed to the so-called developing world and some of the air-cooling and air-conditioning approaches that have percolated there. “They have a lot of really interesting answers if we look at it with contemporary eyes and contemporary design,” he said.

Moe and Flatow were joined by sustainability researcher Michael Sivak, a research professor at the University of Michigan.

Listen to the full interview here.