Air conditioning has become a necessity in the modern world. It provides us with a cool, comfortable environment for living and working when the outdoors conditions approach the unbearable. So that’s great. But the continual use of AC can have a pretty adverse effect on the environment. Fortunately, there are some great eco-friendly air conditioning systems, so read on and make sure you do your research before investing in one this summer.
- The Importance of Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning Systems
- What are the Characteristics of an Eco-friendly Air Conditioner?
- What Are The Advantages of Using an Eco-friendly Air Conditioner?
- The Best Eco-friendly Air Conditioning Systems in the Market
- How to Maximize the Efficiency of Your Eco-friendly Air Conditioner
- An Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning System for Your Needs
The best energy efficient air conditioner we have found? The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS. It’s compact, it’s portable (so great if you are in an apartment and don’t want to buy one AC for each room!), and it’s got great ratings!check it out!
The Importance of Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning Systems
As summer temperatures soar higher and higher, even places in Switzerland seem to now need cooling systems installed indoors. There’s nothing we can do about the heat right now except try to make ourselves comfortable. But can we do that without aggravating the problem that was caused by excessive energy usage in the first place? I mean, increased AC usage means increased electricity consumption, which means increased burning of fossil fuels for the most part. (You’re lucky if you have electricity from a renewable source, but that is not the norm yet.) The US in 2020 consumed around 10% of the country’s total energy and 16% of residential energy consumption for indoor space cooling. So, cooling is a big drain on resources.
Besides, the coolant (aka refrigerant) used in AC units are fluorocarbons that are potent greenhouse gases.
In addition, AC units are made from metal and plastic, which have their own associated problems of sourcing and disposal.
So what do we do? How do we make air conditioning less of an environmental nightmare? There are AC units that claim to be eco-friendly, but are they? This post will look at them and provide you with information on how to select an eco-friendly air conditioning system for your home or office (and also why it is important to do so).
What are the Characteristics of an Eco-friendly Air Conditioner?
What is an eco-friendly air conditioner? It’s an air conditioner that is more energy-efficient, uses less water, and produces less carbon dioxide. “Less” does not mean zero, unfortunately, but we’ll take what we get. Before you make a decision, it is important to know what you need from your air conditioning unit. It needs to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and have a high SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). These units will typically have a higher price tag.
Here are 6 criteria for gauging the eco-friendliness of an air conditioning system:
1 // Suitable Size
If you pick an AC that’s correctly sized for your space, you’re off to a good start. A unit that’s too small will need to be used on full blast and take longer to cool the entire space. One that’s too big will use more energy than required to cool the space. The Goldilocks AC unit that’s just right will be energy-efficient, which means lower bills and a longer-lasting AC unit.
You could hire a professional to help you with this, or if you’re confident of doing it yourself, then here’s how to measure your space for the correct AC unit.
2 // Energy-efficient Compressor
The compressor in your AC uses the most electrical power. The latest models have compressors that can regulate themselves based on ambient temperature. A hotter day would have the compressor working harder (i.e. using up more power) than a cooler day.
3 // Programmable Thermostats
The more you can control, the more efficient the AC unit becomes! Whether you want the AC unit to switch off at a certain temperature, or pre-cool your home before you return from work, or set it to switch off at a certain time at night – the options are endless, and all work to minimize energy usage.
4 // Customized AC Systems
AC units powered by different energy sources are now available. You can also pick and choose more (or less) efficient components within the unit, balanced out by price of course. This kind of customization requires an expert to come in, but it allows for a system that is best suited to your unique conditions and requirements.
5 // Geothermal Heat Pumps
Say what? Geothermal heat pumps are a 2-in-1 HVAC system that can be used for heating and cooling. The geothermal heat pump will use the earth as a heat sink to absorb heat from your home. Geothermal air conditioners are more energy-efficient and can give you up to a 50% energy reduction. They are also pricier, but “the additional costs may be returned in energy savings in 5 to 10 years,” according to the US Energy Department.
6 // Maintenance & Ease of Use
You want to opt for an AC unit that is easy to maintain; this keeps you on top of any big-ticket damage that may rob your unit of efficiency and also cost more. Also, have your AC professionally serviced twice a year, to ensure it’s working as it is meant to.
Your AC should be easy for you to use, and not require a thick manual for you to pore through. A complicated unit will dissuade you from using all its features, which would be a shame because those features are there to make the AC more efficient. So, when you buy an AC, make sure you know how all of its features work.
Also, in this age of supply chain woes, choose an AC unit that has its parts easily available, and not stuck in a port on the other side of the world. In other words, buy locally manufactured products, if possible.
7 // Ratings & Certifications
EER and SEER ratings measure AC units’ energy efficiency. EER is the energy efficiency rating and SEER is the seasonal energy efficiency rating. The higher the EER or SEER, the greater the efficiency.
The blue Energy Star® certification by the US EPA indicates that this unit has met or exceeded higher efficiency standards than other comparable models.
What Are The Advantages of Using an Eco-friendly Air Conditioner?
Cooling your home is a necessity in the summer. Air conditioning systems are one of the most popular methods for cooling homes and offices, but they come with a lot of drawbacks, including producing greenhouse gases. Fortunately, there are many advantages to using eco-friendly air conditioning to keep your home cool:
1 // Lower Energy Consumption
Green AC units use up to 50% less energy than standard AC units and they also require less maintenance because they don’t contain any harmful refrigerants.
2) Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Better Air Quality
Air conditioners produce harmful VOCs, but eco-friendly AC units have been designed to produce no or low levels of these compounds. There are even versions that are sealed, meaning they won’t release any of the harmful gases and chemicals that traditional models do. This helps keep the environment healthier.
3) Lower Your Electric Bill
If you install a green AC unit, you’ll be able to lower your electric bill because these units are designed to be more energy efficient and to also reduce your cooling needs.
The Best Eco-friendly Air Conditioning Systems in the Market
First, a quick note: If your home or office is in a very hot region, it is highly recommended to invest in an evaporative cooler. Evaporative “swamp” coolers are simple and use only water, so they are also eco-friendly and affect the environment minimally. However, if you live somewhere that has colder weather, an air conditioner may be a better option for you. (And if hot days also get humid, then have a look at these small dehumidifiers that can provide some respite.)
Here are the top picks:
1 // LG LW1217ERSM
Price: About $422
LG seems to have come out with several eco-friendly AC options. There’s the medium-sized LG LW1217ERSM window-mounted air conditioner with Wi-Fi control, and a Consumer Report score of 85. It has a very low noise level and is ideal for bedrooms and workspaces.
12,000 BTU | Floor Area: 400 sq ft | Voltage: 115 volts | Energy Star Rated: EER 12.1 (2017) | Mounting Type: Window
This one has a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTU, but if you’re looking for higher capacity, the LG LW1817IVSM (240 Volts) dual-inverter aircon with variable speed compressor is great. This model also uses 37.38% less energy than the U.S. Federal Standard.
Price: About $369
This aircon is among the most cost-effective options, probably because it isn’t a smart aircon. It includes a low-voltage startup setting to conserve energy and save money.
10,000 BTU | Floor Area: 350 sq ft | Voltage: 115 volts | Energy Star Rated: Yes | Mounting Type: Fixed Window
Price: About $349
This medium-large sized air conditioner with inverter technology offers consistent, energy-efficient cooling and up to 47% annual energy savings over a standard air conditioner. It’s also a smart air conditioner that can also be controlled remotely via WiFi. It’s also pretty sleek looking!
10 000 BTU | Floor Area: 450 sq ft | Voltage: 150 volts | Energy Star Rated: EER 12.0 | Mounting Type: Fixed Window
Price: About $291
This is a small air conditioner suitable for cooling rooms up to 150sq ft. It is a quiet, effective unit that features variable fan speed, exact temperature adjustment, touch and remote control, and dehumidification mode.
5000 BTU | Floor Area: 150 sq ft | Voltage: 115 volts | Energy Star Rated: Yes | Mounting Type: Fixed Window
5 // PerfectAire Slider
Price: About $560
The PerfectAire Slider is a fixed window-mounted air conditioner rated to cool an area of up to 450 sq ft. Its features include three fan speeds and full directional control, remote control and digital display, and a built-in thermostat, with auto, dry and energy-saver modes.
10,000 BTU | Floor Area: 450 sq ft | Voltage: 115 volts | Energy Star Rated: No | Mounting Type: Fixed Window
6 // TOSOT Chalet
Price: About $409
The TOSOT Chalet is a sleek, Energy Star rated window-mounted air conditioner that is designed to cool spaces up to 550 sq ft. Its features include dehumidifying and fan-only modes, and a smart thermostat
12,000 BTU | Floor Area: 550 sq ft | Voltage: 110 volts | Energy Star Rated: Yes | Mounting Type: Fixed Window
Price: About $409
The Whynter Elite ARC-122DS is a compact and portable air conditioner, dehumidifier and non-cooling fan. The activated carbon filters can be removed and washed. It has a 24-hour programmable timer, and a patented auto drain function that exhausts all condensate automatically. Its Green R-32 coolant is from the newest generation of coolants and more eco-friendly.
12,000 BTU | Floor Area: 400 sq ft | Voltage: 115 volts | Energy Star Rated: No (EER 12) | Mounting Type: Portable
How to Maximize the Efficiency of Your Eco-friendly Air Conditioner
It’s not enough to just buy a super-cool eco-friendly aircon. You also need to use it properly to maximize its efficiency. Here are some ways you can do that:
1 // Ideal Temperature for your Aircon
If you’re wondering what the ideal eco-friendly air conditioner temperature is, Energy Star recommends running your air conditioner at no lower than 78 degrees F to maximize your home’s energy efficiency (and better manage cooling costs).
2 / Turn It Off!
During cooler parts of the day, turn the AC off and open your windows. This gives much needed air circulation, and allows fresh air inside.
3 // Keep the room free of excess heat
Turn off any unnecessary heat-producing appliances, which only serve to increase your AC’s workload.
4 // Use a fan
Install ceiling fans. They will improve air circulation and help the AC use less energy. Remember to set your fan to run counterclockwise.
5 // Plan for when no one is home
Program your thermostat to run the AC at a higher temperature when no one’s home. Or just turn it off, and program it to turn on and cool the area just before you arrive home.
6 // Check for leakage
Remember to fully seal and insulate the AC system properly when setting it up. Any leakage can affect the efficiency of your AC’s cooling powers.
7 // Regular cleaning is a must
Clean your AC units regularly, especially window mounted ones. Wipe down the vents and rinse the filters (and change them if you need to). Clean the air ducts of your AC if it’s a central air conditioning system.
An Eco-Friendly Air Conditioning System for Your Needs
Eco-friendly air conditioning systems are a better choice for the environment because they use less energy and require less maintenance (and you should consider an eco-friendly electric heater for winter, for many of the same reasons). They also have a lower cost of ownership over time, which means more savings for you. And if your air conditioner is drying out the air indoors, consider investing in an eco-friendly humidifier to make things better.
Make sure you select the right system for your needs, and learn how to take good care of it. Maintain it well, and it will give you energy-efficient service for many, many years to come.
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