Environmentally Friendly Air Conditioning
The price of energy has risen over the last few years. This is something the public are particularly aware of. The environmental cost is as pressing as it has ever been – and public awareness of those costs is always rising. Both of these considerations are weighing more heavily than ever before on the choices made by businesses across the country. Consequently, many such businesses are looking for alternative ways of cooling their premises – ways which will place less strain on both their wallets and the Earth.
The principle means of regulating the temperature of an indoor environment – be it a home, a business or government building – is through the use of air conditioning. But while we may be thinking of air conditioning as a means of cooling, it can also double as a heater and dehumidifier. This means that and air conditioner can offer a holistic solution to temperature regulation and that it can do so all year round.
How Does an Air Conditioning System Work?
The basis of an air conditioner lies in the process of liquid being converted to gas, which absorbs heat. An air conditioner draws in air across a set of special coils, filled with a special gas called a refrigerant. This refrigerant gas is then compressed, a process which creates heat. This heat can be channelled outside so that the interior is kept cool. The cycle can then begin again.
But what about when you want to heat a room? Well, it’s rather simple. The process simply works in reverse, with the cold being transferred outside while the heat is brought into the room. Air conditioners are a far more efficient way to heat and cool a room than more traditional gas and oil-based solutions.
Air conditioners are attractive as they do not involve extensive changes in plumbing or a new boiler. They come in a few different varieties, which can be either portable or fixed. They can also be adjusted so that they are not in use when not needed. When choosing an air conditioner, you should pay special attention to its energy efficiency rating (A is the best).
As well as the traditional air conditioner, there exist several other competing technologies, which boast environmental and economic benefits of their own. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Ice cooling is as self-explanatory as one might imagine. They work on the principle that electricity is cheaper during the night – when there is less demand. In this respect are very similar to storage heaters.
They freeze a large tank of water overnight and then pump the resulting cold air into the rest of the building over the course of the following day. By doing this, the method saves money and eases the strain on the environment. Furthermore, ice cooling systems can be used alongside more traditional cooling systems.
That said, ice cooling systems have a few downsides. They require a great deal of initial expenditure to install, as well as a great deal of space – they do, after all, require the installation of large tanks of water. For this reason, they are only really a viable option for large premises in locations where cooling is a major concern.
Ground source heat pumps
While ice-cooling systems might be only practicable in large premises, homeowners have other options available to them in the form of ground source heat pumps (GSHP). Under the surface of the earth, the temperature is around fifteen degrees Celsius. Furthermore, it is a great deal more stable than the temperature on the surface. Geo-thermal solutions like GSHP rely on transferring this heat to within a home rather than by using electricity.
This effect can be achieved remarkably simply. The most common method is to install a looping ling of pipes, winding through the home in question and then through the ground. Through this piping flows a special mixture of water and anti-freeze. In this way, heat can be transferred from the ground to the home during the winter and in the opposite direction during the summer.
Geothermal solutions have been shown to be hugely more economical than their traditional air conditioner counterparts. In some cases, the heating bill can be slashed in half. However, just as with ice cooling, the cost of the initial investment is enough to deter many homeowners from taking the plunge.
While the initial cost can be higher, the benefits will prove worthwhile in a matter of years. The piping will also be protected from both thieves and the weather, since it flows underground.