The Atmosphere Can Contribute to a 20% Increase in the Efficiency of Air Conditioners 

Based on the findings of recent studies, fluid-filled roof tiles that have been built specifically can assist make air – conditioning systems substantially more effective. 

These screens function in the same way as solar water heaters, with the exception that they remove heat from the fluid that is running through them rather than supplying heat. Even on the hottest days of summer, this is only feasible because new, highly reflecting materials have been developed in recent years. These materials enable for a greater amount of heat to be removed from the fluid than is allowed to be absorbed by the fluid itself. 

As a consequence of this, the investigators, who were prompted by Eli Goldstein of Stanford University, came to the conclusion that these panels, when incorporated into an established air conditioning system, can use anywhere from 20 to 50 percent less energy to provide the same quantity of cooling to an indoor space. This, in effect, might help balance out consumption surges on the electrical grid during the summer, cut down on monthly energy expenditures, and lessen the chance of outages, besides load shedding. 

Exciting New Findings

Both the researchers at Stanford, as well as my team at the University of Technology in Sydney, have indeed been attempting, for several years now, to build intelligent roofing elements that will assist in the more efficient dissipation of heat produced by air conditioning units. 

Traditional air-conditioning systems get rid of their warmth by expelling hot air from the system’s exterior fan unit. This is the most common method of removing heat from a building. The heat from the usual refrigerant is transferred into the fluid, which may be water or glycol, using a heating element in the new format. This additional step brings the total number of steps to four. After that, the fluid is circulated through the roof chilling panels so that the warmth can be released into the atmosphere. 

Both the Old and New Systems Are Being Used

The former issue that existed with this method was that the Sun causes the fluid-filled panels to overheat, instead of cool down, on scorching, sunny days, which is when you want air – conditioning system the most because the temperature is so high. This issue was only resolved in the last three years, thanks to the development of highly reflecting surfaces that are capable of deflecting 97% of the solar radiation that is coming their way. 

Getting a Taste of the Fire

Nearly all man-made and natural surfaces are capable of absorbing at least 5% of the solar heat that strikes them. More than 10% of the heat from the sun is routinely absorbed even by the finest white roof coatings. The layer of silver that is perfectly smooth and shining has the best performance, but it does not hold up very well in weather that is exposed to the elements. 

What if, on the other hand, we could conceal the silver beneath a coating that also serves to reflect the sun’s rays, so shielding it from damage and possibly even enhancing its ability to reflect light? Three separate research teams came up with potential solutions, two of which involved coverings composed of plastic for the silver, and the third of which involved a complex stacking of various oxide materials. 

At UTS, our strategy consisted of applying numerous levels of two different polymers on top of the silver in a layered fashion. The end product is a material that can reflect 97% of the solar radiation that strikes it; as a result, it can successfully deflect the sun’s heat, allowing the fluid contained within to cool even when the outside temperature is high. 

Take a Gander at the Clouds

These highly reflecting surfaces can pull off a nifty trick, as demonstrated by a recent study conducted at Stanford University, which is to cause the roof to shed heat throughout the day in the identical manner as it does when the sky is clear at night. Since their heat is lost so high into the sky, skyward surfaces might experience temperatures that are several degrees lower than the surrounding air temperature on nights when the sky is clear. The brand-new roof panels have the same effect during the daytime as they do at night. For instance, they are capable of condensing moisture well after daybreak even if the temperature of the air outside is higher than the point at which dew would normally condense. 

The panels may be simply retrofitted onto already existing air-conditioning systems, which will ultimately save money in the long term due to the decreased amount of energy that is used. The experts at Stanford modeled the efficiency of their technology and calculated that the panels might reduce the expense of air-conditioning by 21% for a traditional two-story building in the warm environment of Las Vegas if they were installed there. 

Blending the present technology for indoor air-conditioning, like the ones on this page, with the new panels that reflect the heat directly toward the sky could make these kinds of hybrid systems increasingly prevalent. Those who are hoping to lower their monthly energy expenses will have to excuse the pun but things are looking up in this regard.