Coolerado’s super-efficient air conditioning expanded to include small residences

Pure Energy Systems News
September 2009
By Sterling D. Allen
Link to Pure Energy

The clever M-cycle system uses consecutive stages of indirect evaporative cooling along with a heat exchanger so that the humid air does not enter the building but is effectively cooled while using as little as 10% as much energy as the traditional air conditioner.

This last Monday I interviewed Mike Luby, CEO of Coolerado, makers of a line of air conditioners that they say are the most efficient available, able to cut AC energy usage by as much as 90%. The Coolerado system uses a form of indirect evaporative cooling that relies on the Maisotsenko Cycle in which outside air is cooled by evaporation and heat exchange through a series of plastic plates.

In contrast to a swamp cooler, the air that comes in contact with the moist portion does not enter the building, but cools the adjacent air that does enter the building through 20 consecutive stages of cooling powered by a simple fan that pushes the air through the heart of the system.

They recently won a challenge by the University of California to boost AC efficiency, beating the U.S. Department of Energy standard by 60 percent during peak, and 80 percent on average. That unit is a commercial unit that is expected to be available this fall.

Monday, Coolerado announced a new central air conditioner sized for homes smaller than 1,500 square feet. The new system, called the M30, uses under 450 watts of power, less energy than what most homes without air conditioning use for portable, ceiling or whole house fans.

Coolerado products are Clean and Green Technology, using no CFCs as refrigerants. They also provide a healthier environment by delivering 100% fresh air, flushing out stale air and pollutants.

Because the air conditioner is based on the principle of evaporation, it is best suited to the Western states where the humidity is not so high. But remember, the humid portion of air in their system does not enter the building but is ducted out, so their air conditioners do not add humidity to the indoor air.

Though their units are a bit more pricey than a standard air conditioner, due to the savings in electricity, a hot climate such as Arizona, could see a return on investment in three months, while it might be more like 2-3 years in a cooler climate like Idaho that doesn’t need as much air conditioning.

Generally speaking, nearly half of the electrical demand in the country is for air conditioning. Imagine reducing that by nearly ten-fold.

When I asked Mike about bacteria and the moist surfaces of the unit, he cited the following factors:

The air entering the building does not go across the wet surfaces but only interacts with the polypropylene, dry surface of the heat exchanger.
A biocide is used in the heat exchanger.In tests on units installed sine 2005, no bacterial contamination has been detected as a result of the Coolerado air conditioning units.

The easiest retrofit for the Coolerado system is where swamp coolers have been used. In that case, it is merely a swap out scenario. A typical air conditioner retrofit is more challenging, depending on where the HVAC is located. A typical AC uses the fan in the heater system to circulate the air through the building, whereas the Coolerado unit has a separate fan on the front end, so the Coolerado ducting would need to be attached after the fan section on the building’s duct work. The attic retrofit installation is usually the most difficult.

The company is presently focused on commercial applications, but with the introduction Monday of their M30 residential unit, they are now entering that market as well. Their product has been installed throughout the U.S., including in 32 federal and state buildings. They also have distributors in Australia, India, Europe and elsewhere.

The amount of water used by the Coolerado is approximately two gallons per ton-hour of cooling. When you take into consideration the water that is used in a coal power plant for the steam, or the water that evaporates in a hydroelectric dam, and consider the reduced electrical demand of the Coolerado system, it turns out that the amount of water used by the Coolerado is about the same as the water conserved by not requiring so much electricity.

The technology was invented by Dr. Valeriy Maisotsenko, formerly of the Soviet Union, who defected to the U.S. in 1990. Coolerado secured patents and wrapped some engineering around his concepts. Ironically, it was Dr. Maisotsenko who came up with the “Coolerado” name of the Colorado-based company.

In summary, Mike pointed out that the Coolerado air conditioning technology saves money, is healthy, and is good for the planet.