If you own a green home, rest assured that air conditioning is absolutely possible (it can even happen with renewable energy!).
Greenies with green homes have debated this issue extensively, and for good reason. Traditional air conditioning sucks resources and is one of the biggest earth killers this planet has ever seen. Without a doubt the best way to save energy on air conditioning is to either destroy it or never turn it on. Unfortunately, this is just not practical for everyone; especially if you live in arid climates. If you don’t believe me, try living in Tucson Arizona in August with just a box fan and a swamp cooler. As green as you want your home to be, you will suffer!
No question the history of air conditioning has been anything but green. Some units use earth damaging chemicals and consume enormous amounts energy for what it does, needless to say they are not terribly efficient. Even units labeled “energy efficient” in use today still use tons of energy, causing enormous electricity bills and consuming fossil fuels in the process. Are there systems available that use no damaging chemicals and are truly high efficiency? The answer is… absolutely.
Size Does Matters
The first thing you need to consider when designing an air conditioning system for your green home is the size of the AC unit. Air conditioning systems should be sized correctly for the home that needs to be cooled. Be certain to consider the number of rooms, the location of the house, the flora and fauna surrounding the home, the number of windows currently installed (as well as any that might be installed in the future), the floor plan of the house, and the square footage. It should not be too big or too small. Too big is a waste of resources and too small a system is a wasted investment. Lastly, take a look at the renewable resources we can use to accomplish this.
Cooling from the Earth With Geo-Thermal Units
For the home to be truly green, renewable resources must be considered. One of the best renewable resources is called geothermal. Geo thermal units are great because they both heat and cool your home by utilizing the stable core temperature of the depth of the earth. Have you ever noticed that most caves are the same temperature (around 55F) all year? We can use this constant temperature of the earth to cool air for air conditioning, making it a truly green home.
To execute geothermal cooling, water (or other liquid, depending on the contractors preference) is forced through a pipe buried at a certain depth under the ground (again, the depth varies depending on several factors). The liquid is cooled to the temperature of the earth that surrounds the pipe. Fans then force air to pass over the tube and the warm room air is transferred to the water (or other liquid) in the tube, transferring the hot air from the home back into the earth below. The heated water is then pushed back though the tube and the heat is transferred into the ground effectively cooling the liquid to 55 degrees. The process then begins all over again and there it is; you have a green solution to heating your home in the winter and cooling it in the summer.
Geo-Thermal Units Are Clean and Efficient
Using Geo-thermal air conditioning is clean, quiet, and is quite simply better for the planet. Another great benefit is that there is a reduction in the amount of dust and allergens as many systems do not force air throughout the home like traditional air conditioners.
This system uses much less energy to create cool air for the home than conventional air conditioning and is much better for the environment. This system can also be used to heat the home. The cost of the system and the depth to which the tubes must be buried depends on the part of the world in which you live. Either way, geothermal energy systems are hands down the most Eco-friendly way to heat and cool your home.
If you have anything to add about your green home or geothermal systems, leave a comment and make your voice heard!