This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 21, 2004

Companies Examine New Ways to Keep Buildings Cool

With the International Builders Show in progress in Las Vegas, Nevada, you can be sure a lot of building professionals are thinking about how to keep buildings cool, and companies throughout the country are examining a range of techniques to accomplish that goal.

SPD Technologies, Inc. is at the show, displaying a new line of "smart" windows that can be electronically dimmed to filter out 99 percent of the ultraviolet light entering a room. The windows are suspended particle devices (SPDs), which use an applied voltage to align suspended particles in a thin-film coating, causing the windows to change from nearly opaque to slightly tinted. Research Frontiers, Inc. developed the SPD technology, which in the past has mainly been applied to sunroofs and various privacy-window applications , although it has been licensed to a number of window companies. See the Research Frontiers press releases.

Meanwhile, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is gearing up for its 2004 Winter Meeting, at which one seminar will examine the use of deep, cold water in lakes and rivers for cooling. Although such cooling projects are rare, according to ASHRAE, they yield large energy savings: a lake-source cooling project in Ithaca, New York, cut energy use by 87 percent. See the ASHRAE press release. The ASHRAE Winter Meeting runs from January 24th to 28th in Anaheim, California.

Photo of Coolerado Cooler.

The Coolerado Cooler demonstration in Denver.
Credit: Idalex Technologies

The International Air-Conditioning Heating Refrigerating Exposition, or AHR Expo, is also taking place in Anaheim in late January, and will feature two products that use an innovative thermodynamic process called the "Maisotsenko Cycle." Though the process is too technical to explain here, the results are astounding: Idalex Technologies, Inc. claims its prototype condenser for air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers is 57 percent more efficient than today's high-efficiency products. And its air conditioner, marketed as the Coolerado Cooler, is a commercial product that the company claims is the most efficient air conditioner ever made. The air conditioner is powered only by a fan (there's no compressor) and was demonstrated at a school in Denver in October 2003, in partnership with the Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation (OEMC). To learn about the Maisotsenko Cycle and Idalex's products, see the Idalex Technologies Web site and the OEMC press release.