NREL zeroes in on super-efficient AC system for commercial buildings


By: SGN Staff


A new air conditioning system invented by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory could well be a promising breakthrough for energy efficiency in commercial buildings: a compact, cost-effective cooling unit that uses 90% less electricity and up to 80% less total energy than its traditional counterparts. In terms of commercial buildings, that can mean huge cost and energy savings.


Because the system, desiccant enhanced evaporative air conditioning (DEVAP), also is efficient at managing humidity, it can maintain a comfortable atmosphere for building occupants without the need for overcooling, one example of cost saving.


NREL's Eric Kozubul, co-inventor of DEVAP, explained the system's benefits, technology and its likely path to commercialization in a Q&A which is part of NREL's Lab Breakthrough series.


The outstanding benefits, of course, are comfort for people in buildings equipped with the system: in addition to comfortable temperatures and humidity levels, what they may not experience is the stuffy, lack of fresh air atmosphere common to commercial buildings. And because of the drastically lower level of electricity consumption, building owners should see an estimated 40-80% reduction in their power bills.

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