KTIC Solutions have carried out hundreds of TM44 inspections across the country. We’ve considered that the increasing use of air conditioners is significantly increasing our energy consumptions and environment. Work is in progress all around the world to achieve better energy efficiency for air conditioning. Here we will take a look at the various technologies that are being developed and implemented to reduce or eliminate electricity consumption in the not too distance future. Some of which we hope to include as advisory implementations within our TM44 inspections in the future.
Thermal-powered air conditioning
This may seem like taking a step back to many, but thermally driven air conditioners are the step forward. Chromasun, a firm from North Sydney manufactures air conditioners that run on thermal energy, thus providing a cheaper alternative to electricity run ACs. These units make use of solar energy to generate the heat that is needed to run the units. In case there is a shortage of solar energy, they can also run on natural gas. These units run on solar panels manufactured by Chromasun itself and produce enough it to run double-effect ACs. These double-effect units offer better cooling than other photovoltaic systems and will axe out electricity costs totally.
Ice-powered air conditioning
Ice Energy, a firm from Glendale, California, has come up with another unique solution to reducing energy costs. Its product, Ice Bear, is an air conditioning unit that uses ice to cool the buildings, thereby reducing total energy consumption. Briefly described, the Ice Bear freezes 450 gallons of water overnight in a tank which becomes the source of cooling when the unit is put into the Ice Cooling mode. This can cool a building for six hours at a stretch. When the ice gets melted, the unit switches to the Ice Charging mode and the conventional AC units must take over. So, though the unit cannot yet cool buildings 24*7, it sure does help save energy to a great extent.
Dual Inverter Compressor Technology
Recently incorporated by LG in three of its latest window AC models, the trademarked Dual Inverter Compressor Technology is meant to take cooling to a whole new level. The models are not only quiet and offer advanced cooling, but are also highly energy efficient. These models have been shown to offer an energy efficiency of 40% on the best models from LG. This has not only earned LG the first ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award but also guarantees major energy savings. The Dual Inverter Compressor works by adjusting its speed so that the desired temperature is always maintained. This means fewer fluctuations and improved energy efficiency to up to 40%.
Quite like LG, Daikin has also been in the pursuit of achieving energy efficiency. The company has invested in the research of the best refrigerants for many years now. Continued research has proven that R-32 is, currently, the best refrigerant available that complies with both the HCFC phase-out schedule and the HFC phase-down schedule. R-32’s better efficiency at conveying heat means that it reduces the consumption of electricity by 10% in comparison to models that use R-22.
The Future of Air Conditioning Inspections – Technologies & Research
Apart from the above, the following technologies are also being developed to allow for better energy efficiency. Once the technology is available and commercially viable they will be included in TM44 inspection reports;
- An advanced heat exchanger is being built by Optimized Thermal Systems in collaboration with Heat Transfer Technologies, LLC and United Technologies Research Center. The newly built unit will have 90% fewer joints as compared to existing models. This will ensure that there is less or no leakage of refrigerants, thus ensuring better cooling and lower energy bills.
- Researchers at the University of Florida are working on a prototype that will function as a dehumidifier, water heater, and an air cooler. This promises better heat transfer and will offer improved dehumidification control, guaranteeing better energy savings.
- Dias Analytics has partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop a rooftop air conditioner that is equipped with a membrane. The model replaces conventional chemicals with water. Not only does this reduce the effects of the use of the harmful chemicals, but it can also reduce electrical consumption in the range of 30% – 50% as compared to rooftop ACs that are in use today.
- The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has partnered with IntelliChoice Energy and Georgia Tech to integrate the Ground-Level Integrated Diverse Energy Storage system with HVAC systems. This will offer improved energy storage and allow AC systems to use low-grade heat, thus reducing the energy requirements significantly. The system is estimated to save 1.3 quads every year.