Environmentally-Friendly Air Conditioning Options
Last modified: 2019/01/07 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
There are plenty of hidden costs and concerns when it comes to air conditioning a home. Most air conditioning units function by means of hydrofluorocarbons, which are slowly being phased out of existence as they ruin the ozone layer of our planet.
Further, air conditioning is powered by electricity that is often produced by burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the burning of these fossil fuels leads directly to global warming, something that all individuals should be wary of, if at all concerned for the well-being and future of this planet.
As carbon emissions for cooling down cities continue to spike, we must think of alternative ways to use energy to keep the world healthy and safe. So, if you are a homeowner looking to shift your energy consumption as a result of your concern for the environment, it is worth considering green alternatives for keeping cool this summer! Luckily, we’ve compiled some great options for your next green air conditioner renovation alternatives!
Here are some excellent green-friendly air conditioning options for your home
Start with the Basics
source: Wikimedia Commons
It is important to understand how heating and cooling systems work and this will lead us to some green alternatives for keeping our homes cold during warmer months. Heat is transferred by way of 3 different processes. Firstly, conduction is the passage of heat through a solid surface, such as the walls, windows and roof of your home. Secondly, heat travels by way of light, and this is called radiation, this can be a visible or invisible low-wavelength infrared light. Lastly, convection is when heat is carried through the air as it rises and circulates naturally.
There are a few ways to keep your home cool without employing electricity at all! Insulating your roof correctly will help to keep control of conducted heat. A way to control radiated heat is by putting up awnings, this way direct sunlight does not shine into your windows. Installing vents in your attic, as well as fans, is a way to keep rising heat from sticking around, forcing it to leave through the roof so convected heat is controlled. Good home ventilation creates convection currents, and the faster the air is moving, the cooler and fresher it stays.
Furthermore, green heating and cooling systems fall into two distinct categories: passive and active. Passive systems utilize nature's ability to heat and cool without the use of furnaces or air conditioners. Active units use a variety of mechanical heating and cooling systems, running on solar power, geothermal power or other sources of green energy. With the basics covered, we can start looking at some specific examples of these systems!
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This type of cooling system can also be referred to as radiant hydronic cooling. How it works is by means of chilled water pipes rather than normal air conditioning systems which employ air. The cool water running through the pipes absorbs any heat emitted by the people in your home. The most common unit is created by aluminum panels that carry the concealed tubing.
These panels are generally mounted on the ceiling. Alternatively, there are hydroponic heating systems that consist of tubes embedded into the floor of your home. This heating system can be used for cooling as well. For the residential home, this requires a source of water, often a well, so that water can pass underground. This system does not work well in humid climates, as the interior air must be dry in order to prevent problems caused by condensation.
New processes and emerging technologies of dehumidification are growing in popularity as alternative and green-friendly ways to cool down one’s home. In humid climates, air conditioning energy used to cool buildings will simply dehumidify them. This adapting technology uses desiccants, which are improved condensers and compressors of water vapour.
Hybrid Solar Air Conditioners
source: PublicDomainPictures, David Clark
The sun is one of the preeminent providers of green-friendly energy, as it is constant and renewable. Hybrid solar air conditioners depend on both solar power and battery operation to run. This unit operates by way of a collection of solar cells outfitted to the roof of your home.
This type of unit is passive and needs very little upkeep. When the sun is out, this air conditioning unit pulls energy from the sun to cool down the home while charging the unit’s batteries. Some systems can run off a single solar panel, making them an excellent option if you’re not looking for a full-fledged DIY project. Unfortunately, this is not the most efficient cooling system, but would be worth trying if you live in an extremely sunny region.
Geothermal Cooling Systems
To take advantage of the energy that is brimming just below the surface, it is worth considering a geothermal cooling unit. Geothermal homes use heat pumps and take advantage of geothermal wells under the ground, which works to cool down your house in the summer, while it also can heat it in the winter. The heat pumps carry a fluid which is generally either water or a refrigerant. When it is hot outside, the fluid absorbs coolness from the earth and brings it inside to cool the surrounding area, and in turn, to cool down the house.
Ice Powered Air Conditioners
These units are in the early stages of development, but there is now an air-conditioning system on the market which converts water to ice, using this to run an air-conditioning unit. Ice powered units work by converting water to ice overnight, using it to cool the refrigerant located in the copper coils of existing air conditioner units. This system greatly decreases the amount of electricity a building is using, as the ice created overnight is used to cool down the hot refrigerant, rather than the AC compressor unit. This system is said to cut energy usage by up to 30 percent.
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