POWER SUPPLY: Air Conditioning Energy Saver
Recent Western Cape Business News
IN many of the warmer countries around the world, air conditioning is one of the largest energy consumers in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Air conditioning accounts for a large part of an owners’ energy bills. Millions of simple air conditioning units waste unbelievable amounts of energy every day, says Richard House of the Holistic Energy Company.
Not only is the power demand for air conditioning very high, but air conditioning also contributes to extreme peak energy demand on the hottest days of the year which the energy infrastructure has to cope with, resulting in some countries, for example South Africa, having no other option than to switch off the electricity supply to many consumers because they simply don’t have the ability to supply the demand required. This is likely to become ‘normal’ in most countries over the next decade, he says.
“Now consider how long a typical air-con unit’s life span is…typically 12-15 years and in some cases even longer before it needs replacing. No matter how desirable the replacement of low efficiency window units or single split systems is - compared to ultra-high efficiency systems using advanced compressor and control technology - the costs and logistics of implementing this wholesale change is in reality impractical,” House says.
Further evidence can be clearly seen in the global sales of low-efficiency air-conditioning units, which is still increasing, from 39 million units in 1999 to 68 million estimated in 2008. Of these about 75% are small, inefficient room air-conditioners.
He claims Holistic Energy has a proven solution in energy saving that can generate up to 30% savings and sometimes greater. So, how does it work?
When looking at the underlying theory behind saving energy on air-conditioning systems, one needs to start by identifying which aspect of the system consumes the majority of the power used. In a simple air-con unit, the fan would consume approx 10% to 20%, where as the compressor would use around 80% to 90% of the total power. This leads to an obvious conclu-sion…make the compressor more energy efficient and we can save money. But how can that be achieved without compromising the performance of the unit?
When switched on, a typical air conditioning unit will run continuously until the room thermostat senses the desired temperature and turns the system off. As the room warms up, the thermostat switches the air conditioner back on and the cycle repeats. It’s either fully ON or OFF. However, in most conditions, the maximum rated output is rarely required because the system is oversized by design, in other words air-con units are designed and sized to cope with the worst case scenario. Therefore the compressor operates with excess capacity most of the time
Once ACES is installed by Holistic Energy (about a 15 min install time) it will use algorithms to detect when overcapacity occurs and switch off the compressor, avoiding inefficiency. In effect your air-con unit goes into ‘saver mode’. Don’t worry though, the fans will still continue to operate and blow cold air into the room, making use of all the stored cool energy in the heat exchange unit, according to House.
The set room temperature will be reached, but without the inefficient parts of the cooling cycle. This results in significant energy savings without compromising cooling comfort (the reason we have AC). Once the stored energy is used up, the compressor will switch back on again.
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