Another brutal summer is almost upon us, and due to more and more greenhouse gas emissions the temperatures are rising every year. Unfortunately this is a double edge sword, because how do we keep our houses cool without causing more stress and damage to our already fragile environment? According to most estimated averages, air conditioners in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions every year. These staggering numbers are contributing more and more to global warming. So how do we stave off the heat while not increasing our carbon footprint? Here are 5 air conditioning alternatives that are eco-friendly.
- Solar power technology is rising as a low cost, efficient alternative that doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t overload the power grid. There is plenty of sun on a hot summer’s day, so using solar panels on your roof to power your AC shouldn’t be a problem. The one down side of solar power is that it is a relatively new technology so reaching its goal of maximum efficiency hasn’t been completely met yet – it still has a few years left. Moreover, don’t be alarmed by the initial set up cost – do the math and you should see yourself making it all back in a few years.
- Another alternative that is gaining popularity are Geothermal Heat Pumps. This system uses the earth’s natural temperature to cool and heat water. Usually a system like this has an outdoor and indoor unit that traverses water into the ground and pumps it back inside. When you want to cool your house, the water is channeled into the ground, where the soil extracts excess heat, reducing the amount of electricity needed in conventional methods. Using the natural energy of the earth so far carries the lowest CO2 emissions, compared to other eco-friendly technologies.
- And if you really want to save money on your utility bills, while doing some good for the environment, you can get a programmable thermostat. Using a thermostat that you can schedule to turn on at specific times during the day, opposed to other units that are usually left on all day, can save you up to 33% your next electricity bill and will significantly lower emissions into the environment. Anyone with a HVAC certification will tell you that this is a great option if you want to “go green” this summer.
- One more method that is rising in popularity is something called “ice power.” Think about how nice it would be to relax in an igloo during the summer. This system works with most conventional air-conditioners by making ice in the nighttime hours when energy requirements are lower. During the daytime, it uses specifically created ice packs to deliver cooling to your AC unit. Again, this technology is newer, so there are limitations, like not being totally sufficient for extremely hot climates.
- Lastly, one of the most energy efficient alternatives is to have no AC unit at all. Just make sure your house is properly ventilated and insulated. If you want to find out if your house has proper ventilation and insulation, you can find an HVAC specialist in your area to make sure. This method works best if you live in a more moderate climate. The benefit of having no AC unit at all means no serious damage to your wallet and the environment.