As more and more air conditioning systems are installed and used throughout the world, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise. Traditional air conditioning and HVAC systems use significant amounts of electricity which can add to escalating energy bills.
Today, researchers around the globe are working on developing innovative technologies that will help to reduce carbon emissions as well as electricity use. Explore three cutting-edge technologies that may help to change the future of air conditioning.
Membrane-Based Air Conditioning
Image via Flickr by yourbestdigs
Membrane-based air conditioning is an ingenious technology in development by a team of engineers from the University of Colorado Boulder. Engineers here are basing their research on a type of cooling called passive radiant cooling. The idea behind this type of technology involves cooling an entire building or home as opposed to trying to cool individual rooms.
This cooling would take place with a type of film or material that is highly reflective of the sun's incoming radiation. The membrane film is also transparent enough to allow long-wave radiation to be released from the warm building back into space. This process can help to reduce heat from the sun during the day and help cool a building at night.
Advanced Serpentine Heat Exchangers
Traditional air conditioning systems use heat pumps to exchange hot air with cool air. The exchange of air runs through a series of ducts connected by joints. Research indicates that nearly 10 percent of air conditioners and heat pumps leak refrigerant used in the cooling process. The leaking comes from the joints within the air exchange system.
Optimized Thermal Systems, along with partners Heat Transfer Technologies LLC, are developing a type of heat exchange system that uses a serpentine-shaped, aluminum tube that will help to eliminate many joints that can cause leakage. This new system can help to reduce harmful refrigerants entering the environment.
Water-Based Air Conditioners
From the National University of Singapore comes a team of researchers who are working on a water-based air conditioning system. Conventional air conditioning systems use chemical refrigerant for the cooling process, but some of those chemicals can be harmful to the environment.
The water-based system uses a type of membrane that removes moisture from the outdoor humid air. This air is then cooled by a system that uses a dew-point cooling process. The water, as opposed to chemical refrigerants, is used as the cooling substance. Additionally, this forward-thinking research team has added a feature to this system that can produce drinking water.
Current Cooling Technologies
While these new technologies are exciting and innovative, modern traditional cooling systems are much more energy efficient than older air conditioners. Modern central air conditioning systems use advanced motors, compressors, and coils which help to make them more efficient to operate. Installing a ductless air conditioner within your home can also help with energy use by allowing you to cool only the rooms you need.
Connected thermostats use technology to help control the temperature of your home remotely. By keeping your HVAC system maintained on a regular basis, you can help your system run smoothly and efficiently. Consult a professional HVAC services company to discuss the best way to choose an air conditioner that will operate efficiently for your home.