Apparently, it’s a good time to be indoors. The earth is warming up, warns the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week. In the same hot breath, its North American chapter calls for “targeted and sustainable air conditioning,” among other steps, to deal with the impending global catastrophe.But cool your jets! Summer air conditioning (aka AC) will cause a surge in energy demand, the IPCC also warns, spiraling from about 300 terawatt-hours in 2000 to a projected 4,000 terawatt-hours in 2050. That will add way more greenhouse gases, fanning the proverbial flames. Have no fearFortunately, we’re seeing new ideas that promise to dramatically boost the power of AC while reducing the energy consumption associated with it. Ideas like underfloor air flow designs and chilled beams are entering the architectural lexicon. There are biofilters that scrub and freshen indoor air, so it can recirculate without losing its cool, so to speak. Hordes of new parasitic devices are emerging to siphon energy from old, inefficient heating air-conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) systems. These technologies steal the heat and cold air, sending it off to places in a building where it’s needed.Architects and engineers also reaching back into the past to revive smart ideas… Read full this story
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