Air Conditioning a Large Home is Expensive
Summer is hot in Texas. That is probably an understatement considering that most years we get temperatures in excess of 100 degrees for days on end and long droughts. Survival for most people includes hiding out in an air conditioned house watching t.v. and sipping sweetened iced tea. For us, however, it means eating ice, getting chores done in the less hot morning, and accepting that our lives change with the seasons. Our house is just too old and big to be able to afford conventional air conditioning.
Of course we run fans, ceiling fans and such. The benefit of an older home is that they were designed to stay cool without the air conditioner using good cross ventilation and tall, narrow windows. The heat rises to the tops of the high ceilings and, for the most part it is livable for us. However, if there were an alternative I would not be adverse to it!
Solar Air Cooling
SunChiller is a solar air conditioning system. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? The fact is that the times that air conditioning is needed the most are the times when the sun also produces the most power to run the system! This system is one of several that are part of a growing technology. The way the solar thermal system works is by a vacuum tube heat collector which heats water to drive an absorption chiller. Water is used as the coolant. This completely eliminates dangerous compounds from CO2 and other air conditioning by products being released into the atmosphere. The system its-self is very low maintenance which makes it a desirable alternative to the conventional hvac system.
SunChiller can be used as a hybrid system to provide hot water as well as heat, when necessary, to a building. The hot water temperature can get as hot as 205 degrees, which is essential to efficient cooling in a solar-thermo system. The unit is built well, with an estimated 20 year life span! Making it even easier there are tax breaks of up to 30% for installing this system.
Similar System in Use In South Carolina
A similar 60 ton solargenix hybrid system was installed on the York Tech Chester Center in South Carolina. It operates completely free of the city’s power grid except for what is required for fans and pumps. Natural gas is the backup to provide power during cloudy days. This is a huge system with thermal collectors that cover 8487 square feet! The system is providing cooling in the summer, heat in the winter and hot water all year long to this facility.
It is, at this point, a technology available only to commercial buildings but it is a matter of time before it is available to the individual consumer.