Think your electricity bill is high? Maybe that’s because cooling systems account for 17 percent of the electricity used worldwide. If that doesn’t grab your attention, then what if we told you that the world’s energy consumption for cooling might increase by 600% by 2050? Though this increase will be largely driven by Asian and African countries, researchers around the world are developing ways to reduce energy consumption.

According to Aaswath Raman, a professor of materials science and engineering at UCLA, “A 10 to 20 percent improvement in the efficiency of every cooling system could actually have an enormous impact on our greenhouse gas emissions, both today and later this century.” Here are two ways this reduction could be made possible.

The Cryocooler

We all know that a teapot full of boiling water will gradually cool down because the heat from the hot water is flowing to its surroundings. However, the temperature of the water will not fall below that of nearby objects. This example illustrates the second law of thermodynamics, which states that “in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state.”

However, a device created by Andreas Schilling, a professor at the University of Zuring, is able to cool a 9-gram piece of copper from over 100℃ to well below room temperature without using an external power supply but with the help of something called the Peltier element — a component that can transform electric currents into heat currents.

Though large-scale application of this device is not yet on the horizon, it is a viable option for reducing energy consumption.

Solar-Thermal Assisted HVACR System

Therm-X is a solar-thermal assisted air-conditioning, heating and refrigeration system that uses a solar thermal collector to decrease the energy consumption of the compressor. Though the system still requires electricity, it uses much less than standard systems. The Therm-X can reduce cooling costs by over 50 percent! And what’s even more exciting, is it’s on the market for residential use.

What’s Next?

Homeowners today have many options to consider if they’d like to lower their energy consumption. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you!