Air conditioning can be a life-saver in the summer, giving you an opportunity to escape the oppressive heat and humidity and rest in comfort indoors. Currently, central air systems and window units do a decent job at cooling your home, but they can create some unsightly utility bills. However, a new generation of cooling technologies could soon be providing relief from the heat in a more efficient and effective manner than the air conditioning of today. Read on to learn more about two of these revolutionary new ideas.
Your Own Personal Cooling Cloud
Why pay to cool down a whole room when you can have your own personal cloud of cold air following you around? An experimental system designed by MIT Professor Carlos Ratti uses motion sensors and numerous misting elements to take cooling to its hyper-local extreme.
The technology uses ultrasonic sensors to detect where people are and how much space they take up, and the mist cools them down wherever they are. For initial implementation, Ratti envisions his invention being used for outdoor cooling in hot, arid, urban environments. In the future, a similar motion tracking strategy could be used to improve efficiency in indoor cooling as well.
“Evaporative cooling has been used for centuries in the Arabic peninsula and is still more energy efficient than, say, air conditioning. It is based on generating a cloud of mist that cools the air around it while it evaporates,” Ratti said in a press release. “In traditional systems, however, a lot of energy and water are consumed for cooling outdoor spaces, even when sparsely used. In our project, we focus misting on people, gaining order of magnitudes in efficiency.”
Say Hello to the Ice Bear
No, no one's suggesting you invite a polar bear into your house. The Ice Bear is a large cold storage device that takes advantage of time-variable electricity rates. It cools the air at night and stores it to be gradually released during the day.
In many states, utilities sell electricity at a cheaper rate during nights and weekends, so the Ice Bear saves money by taking advantage of those discounts. What's more, it doesn't take as much energy to treat cooler nighttime air as it does when daytime temperatures are at their peak, so it conserves energy as well.
"What the Ice Bear does for an air conditioner is we consume energy at night when the outside air temperatures are much cooler and when the efficiency of the grid is much higher because everything is running at partial lows," Greg Miller, executive vice president of market development at Ice Energy, said to AccuWeather. "The greater the differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures, the more efficiently we can provide cooling."
To learn more about what exciting new cooling technologies are available in your area, talk to your local HVAC technician today.