Air conditioning can contribute to high residential energy bills. This is especially true in Florida households, which use four times as much energy as the average U.S. household when it comes to cooling. However, the same innovative spirit that led to the birth of modern air conditioning could help discover an electricity-free solution in the future. Even now, research is underway to identify materials and engineer equipment that can accomplish heat transfer without the need for electricity.
Modern Air Conditioning 101: The Science Explained
Heat transfer is a central principle in air conditioning. Today’s air conditioners and heat pumps use refrigerant as a catalyst for this process. Under pressure, refrigerant will boil at a low temperature, but as pressure is removed, the material cools dramatically. The compressor creates the pressure that results in high temperatures, and as the hot refrigerant moves into the evaporator unit, the pressure decreases and causes a drop in temperature. The cold refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoor air, transferring it outside and releasing it into the environment. The air in the home, meanwhile, decreases in temperature and is distributed to various parts of the structure through ducts.
The Potential Future of Home Cooling: Electricity-Free AC?
Researchers at Stanford University have worked to design a technology that reflects 97 percent of sunlight back into the atmosphere. The device is constructed with a multi-layer piece of material composed of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide, which is positioned on a reflective layer of silver. During testing, the device maintained a temperature that was nine degrees lower than the surrounding air without requiring any electricity. While the scale is quite small at this point, the principle provides the groundwork for an interesting area of future innovation.
Energy-Saving Strategies for Today
Reflective barriers are already in use in homes, reflecting the sun’s heat to reduce heat gain. Florida homeowners may want to consider this technology for reducing their energy consumption. Cool roofing materials and appropriate attic insulation can also help in reducing energy demands.
Call Blair’s Air for Efficiency Tips and AC Service
When it comes to saving energy, the most important strategy is the scheduling of routine HVAC maintenance to ensure optimum system performance. Consistent care can save time, money and stress. Blair’s Air is proud to offer reliable AC maintenance service to residents of the Tampa Bay area and surrounding communities. Additionally, our team of trusted technicians provides emergency service for unexpected system problems. Call to speak with one of our friendly, on-call representatives, or schedule service online to get started.