Air conditioning of building spaces consumes large amounts of energy in the United States, drives electricity usage during peak electricity demand, and is the single largest user of electricity in U.S. buildings. Thus, reducing our nation’s energy consumption requires innovative and cost-effective solutions for conditioning building spaces.
Approximately 25% of the installed air conditioning capacity in homes in the US is provided by window and/or portable air conditioners. These products are typically much less efficient than central ducted systems or ductless heat pump systems; however, they are much more affordable and are easy to install in existing homes. Therefore, they are a popular choice for cooling of apartments and homes that do not have ducts or that do not already have central air conditioning. There are over 8 million window and portable units sold per year in the US. A disproportionate number of these types of residences are occupied by lower income Americans, thus the people who have the fewest financial resources also have the least efficient cooling systems (or none at all) in their homes. Eco-Snap AC can change that; it is one of the few innovative technologies that predominantly helps people at the lower-end of the economic scale. There is also a “trickle-up” effect where product advancements can be used to substantially reduce the cost of more expensive ductless-split systems; however, a target initial market is the window and portable air conditioner market.
Engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a novel air conditioning system to address these issues. Eco-Snap AC addresses the $1.6B U.S. window AC replacement market, the $230M U.S. growing portable AC market, and the $700M U.S. mini-split heat pump market with a cost competitive, disruptive product that easily integrates into existing market supply chains and manufacturing processes. Unlike existing AC units that block windows and create unnecessary noise, this technology allows users to enjoy their windows while keeping their house comfortable and quiet. Eco-Snap AC results in an installed energy efficiency of ~25% over both window and portable air conditioners.
- Dramatic noise reduction
- Increased energy efficiency
- Improved security
- No need to remove and store seasonally
- DIY, tool-less install
- Adapts to wall thickness
- Installs on any exterior wall
- Pro-install versions possible
Applications and Industries
- Window air conditioning
- Portable air conditioning
- Heat pump
For further information, please read NREL’s feature story on Eco-Snap AC.
PCT Publication Number: WO/2016/183281
PCT Application Number: PCT/US2016/32008
|Technology ID||Development Stage||Availability||Published||Last Updated|
|NREL ROIs 14-44, 15-94, 15-103||Prototype||Available||02/03/2016||02/03/2016|