Tuesday, April 7, 2020

99% of Hong Kong people experienced comfort related problems while using their air conditioners – the most important modern convenience for summer

HONG KONG, 17th August 2017 – Hong Kong-based IoT startup Ambi Labs, who last month launched Ambi Climate 2nd Edition, their revolutionary air conditioner accessory, today released the results of a recent survey revealing Hongkongers’ love/hate relationship with their air conditioners. The survey highlights several issues, the likes of which Ambi Climate was designed to solve.

Hongkongers’ love of air conditioners (ACs) was clearly evident from the survey, with 81% of Hongkongers rating ACs as the most important summertime modern convenience, ahead of smartphones, social media, WiFi, and even hot water for showers. Hongkongers use their ACs extensively, with 93% turning it on at least 4 hours a day, and 74% using it the whole night when they are asleep.

However, Hongkongers also hate their ACs. Almost all (99%) reported at least one comfort complaint relating to AC usage, with the most frequent being finding the room too cold at times (66%). With those who use their ACs while asleep, 83% report waking up cold – either during the night, or first thing in the morning.

“Feeling cold while the AC is on isn’t just about discomfort.” said Ambi Labs CEO and Founder, Julian Lee, “Setting the AC set point temperature too low also wastes energy.” Survey results showed that 78% of Hongkongers set their ACs at 240C or below, with over 34% setting their ACs at 220C or less. According to EMSD statistics, space conditioning makes up 36% of residential energy consumption, and increasing the set point temperature by 1 degree can reduce energy consumption by 4%.

Julian continued, “Consumers don’t want to sacrifice comfort to save energy – but when the additional energy consumption reduces comfort, then this additional consumption is unnecessary. One way to save energy while boosting comfort is to adjust the AC during the day to take changing metabolic and outdoor conditions into account.” Survey results showed that only 8% of respondents currently adjust their ACs during the course of the day.

“Regular AC control also provides other benefits, stopping the room from getting too stuffy, and from getting too dry. Thermal comfort is about more than just temperature alone, with multiple other factors such as humidity, sunlight, weather and metabolism also playing a part,” concluded Julian. Respondents report that these and other problems are common, with 42% of respondents finding the room stuffy at times, and 43% waking up with a dry throat when sleeping with the AC on.

For parents, however, home temperature is about more than personal preference. The vast majority of parents (94%), rank their child’s room temperature as ‘important’ or ‘very important’. If this temperature isn’t right, around half worry about their child’s health (46%). To help them maintain the right conditions, parents use ACs for their children extensively, with 83% turning on the ACs when their children are asleep, and 47% leaving them on whenever their children are in the room.

Pet owners are so worried about home temperature that 9 out of 10 worry about their pets suffering from heat exhaustion when home alone, with almost 75% seeking to monitor their pets’ comfort while away (or already doing so), and over half leave their air conditioner on for their pets when they leave the house – 21% already do this every day.

Ambi Climate 2nd Edition uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology to solve the common air conditioner usage challenge by redefining the air conditioner control paradigm. Instead of selecting a single temperature, users simply report their current thermal comfort (cold, hot or comfortable) and Ambi Climate’s A.I. engine analyzes the impact of multiple factors on their comfort, automatically adjusting the AC to enhance comfort. These factors may include outdoor temperature, humidity, weather and time of day. Additionally, by optimizing settings throughout the day, the device also helps save energy by minimizing unnecessary overcooling.

In June this year, the Hong Kong-based IoT startup successfully raised HK$1,215,905 in pledges to launch Ambi Climate 2nd Edition, exceeding its initial funding goal by 311%, and garnering 1,016 backers on Kickstarter, the world’s premier crowdfunding site, over the course of 4 weeks.

The survey was conducted by Ambi Labs online in Hong Kong in August 2017. A sample size of over 600 respondents answered questions in relation to their AC usage and problems in 4 major categories: General, Parents, Pet Owners, and Couples.

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