Air conditioner suck up a lot of energy in hotter months by dumping heat from inside buildings to the outside, ironically heating up neighbouring locations. A Stanford research team developed a more efficient cooling system for AC by pre-cooling water that circulates through the machine. It cools water during the night by essentially beaming the eat out into space, which surprisingly uses less energy than current solutions.
For the new fluid-cooling system, the researchers made radiative panels that were each one-third of a square meter in area; they attached the panels to an aluminum heat exchanger plate with copper pipes embedded in it. The setup was enclosed in an acrylic box covered with a plastic sheet.
The team tested it on a rootop on the Stanford campus. Over three days of testing, they found that water temperatures went down by between 3- and 5 °C. The only electricity it requires is what’s needed to pump water through the copper pipes. Water that flowed more slowly was cooled more.
I’m one of those people that can’t handle unrelenting heat and so I’m always looking for ways to stay cool. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like air conditioning (for reasons beyond the obvious power consumption), as a result I love tips on how to make your home cooler in easy ways.
At Treehugger they have a list of 10 ways to alleviate the need for AC. Some require a few years to take effect (like growing a shade tree) while others can happen right away like opening the windows.
The windows on your home are no just holes in the wall that you open or close, they are actually part of a sophisticated ventilation machine. It is another “Oldway”—People used to take it for granted that you tune them for the best ventilation, but in this thermostat age we seem to have forgotten how.
If the Treehugger list is not enough for you, don’t worry! We’ve looked at energy-free ways to stay cool in the summer before:
Keeping it Cool Without Air Conditioning
Green Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat
In really hot countries air conditioning in buildings might seem like a necessity; however, it is possible to design buildings that stay cool in the heat without even using electricity. In Burkina Faso there is a school that was specially designed to stay nice and cool by manipulating airflows.
There’s not much electricity to go around, Kéré says. “So there is no air-conditioning. It’s too expensive for a country like Burkina Faso.”
So when he designed this secondary school for Dano in his native land, he built it with innovative, elegant, distinctive and yet simply constructed split-level roofing and ceiling structures that funnel warm air up and out of the buildings.
Tall window slats that can be adjusted control both light and heat. Three to a room, they pull air into the classroom. Heat rises.
To use that movement of air, a series of narrow “chimney” gaps between the convex wave shapes in the highly insulating concrete and brick ceiling pulls the hot air up and out the roof.
Read more and see pictures here.