Richard Branson has helped publicize the recently announced Global Cooling Prize on his blog, calling for disruption of the air conditioning industry. It’s nice to have forward thinking confirmed by others because Close Comfort already meets or exceeds most of the prize requirements!
Close Comfort can help save the planet by eliminating one of the largest predicted sources of greenhouse emissions, and this could be done soon enough to help avoid a climate catastrophe.
The UN’s panel of scientists on climate change issued their most recent report in October with an ambitious target to limit human-induced climate warming to 1.5°C. They predicted the consequences of greater warming would be too dangerous. We need to reduce global greenhouse emissions to zero preferably by 2045, no later than 2055 (https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/) to avoid these consequences. It will take time for governments to come to terms with this report because the emission reduction targets require much faster and more drastic action than in the past.
Climate warming has already exceeded 1°C.
Figure 1: IPCC’s most recent Climate Change Forecast
Figure 2: IPCC’s emission reduction requirement
Rapidly increasing use of air conditioners, partly in response to global warming, is now becoming one of the greatest factors causing warming. Predictions indicate 0.5°C warming due to residential air conditioning by 2100 unless we make big changes soon. This is so urgent that Richard Branson and the Rocky Mountains Institute are sponsoring a three million dollar prize as an incentive to develop new climate-friendly air conditioning technologies.
Close Comfort air conditioners already meet most of the requirements for this prize, and yes we are entering the competition. Close Comfort is already available in five countries and we are scaling up production this year to meet demand.
Given appropriate finance and marketing, Close Comfort could replace practically all residential air conditioning within 20 years, well within the IPCC target. At the same time, Close Comfort is far cheaper to own and operate.
Get on board now and help save the planet by switching to Close Comfort for your air conditioning, today!
The global warming impact of air conditioners comes partly from their energy consumption and also the leakage or eventual loss of refrigerant gas which typically has about one thousand times the global warming potential (GWP) as CO2.
The Global Cooling Prize criteria, stated relative to a typical 1.5 ton split system room air conditioner are shown below.
|No more than 2 X cost||Close Comfort basic model, with tent, is about 2/3 cost|
|5 X less climate impact||Close Comfort uses 1/6 the power, and less than one sixth the amount of refrigerant gas. Soon Close Comfort will switch to a natural refrigerant with almost zero greenhouse impact.|
|Power less than 700 Watts||Close Comfort needs only 300 Watts|
|Water less than 14 litres daily||Close Comfort gets the water it needs from the air by itself.|
|No emissions from onsite power||Close Comfort runs on solar during the day, and with batteries can eliminate most of the grid power requirement at night. We are working on designs that reduce night-time power consumption to 30 Watts.|
|Usable in existing homes||Close Comfort needs no installation or building modification|
|Cooling to provide feeling equivalent to 27°C, 60% humidity||Close Comfort provides this degree of cooling and is now being enjoyed by over 2000 families in South Asia, Indonesia and Australia|
The prize organizers have called for a room air conditioner that meets these requirements. Close Comfort is a localized air conditioning solution. Close Comfort cools people, not rooms. And that what is needed. Walls and floors don’t need cooling.
Now it’s over to you. Engineers, the need to eliminate greenhouse emissions is the greatest opportunity for creative thinking and design in centuries. I hope this example can inspire others to come up with similar ideas. With commercial ideas that save people time and money and eliminate emissions at the same time, there’s much less need for government action!