Refrigerators are a massive drain on our power grids because our modern world needs them to function. Without refrigeration our food networks wouldn’t be viable nor would we be able to stay cool indoors during heatwaves. Thanks to some very bright people we now have a fridge that won’t need energy to work.
The invention, dubbed WindChill, took first place in the student category in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, aimed at finding solutions borrowed from nature to improve the global food system.
“We thought it would be good to decrease the amount of food waste in the world, and we came up with this design because it’s easy to build and the materials are relatively cheap,” said team member Michelle Zhou.
The design borrows the burrowing and the fanning techniques employed by some animals, siphoning in air (think elephants ears) that is then cooled by tubes which partially run underground (think digging termites). This helps provide cheap, cold air for food refrigeration.
Geothermal energy is one of the most sustainable energy sources because it works off of heat transferring from the ground to your home. In Iceland, the majority of the electricity comes from geothermal energy because the country sits in a prime location. You can make use of geothermal energy at your home in a much smaller way.
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:
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.
Solar powered air conditioners are a great way to lower power consumption in the hot summer months. Air conditioners turn on when it’s too hot and the sun is generally producing that heat, so why not use the sun to cool down your home?
Many blackouts occur because too many air conditioners are running so solar powered units just make a whole lot of sense.
LG electronics announced yesterday the debut of the first eco-friendly solar hybrid air
conditioner in korea. this new product provides up to 70 watts of power per hour via
solar cell modules attached to the top of this outdoor unit.
according to the korean manufacturer, this new hybrid system is capable of reducing
around 212kg of CO2 over 10 years, equivalent to 780 pine trees (over the same period).