Challenge produces a better air conditioner

The UC Davis "Western Cooling Challenge" has produced a better air conditioner.

By Source: UC Davis August 19, 2009

The first certified winner of the UC

Davis “Western Cooling Challenge” is Coolerado Corp. of Denver. Recent federal tests showed that

their five-ton commercial rooftop unit should be able to air condition a

typical big-box store with less than half the energy needed by conventional

cooling units.


“Coolerado’s entry in the

Western Cooling Challenge was the first to take our rigorous tests at the

Advanced HVAC Lab at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy

Laboratory in Golden, Colo.,” said Mark Modera, director of the UC Davis

Western Cooling Efficiency Center.


“We are extremely pleased to

announce that Coolerado’s product exceeded our expectations. While our target

was a 40% reduction in energy use and peak electricity demand compared to

conventional cooling units, the Coolerado H-80 tests indicate almost 80%

energy-use savings and over 60% peak-demand reduction.”


Launched in June 2008 ,

the UC Davis Western Cooling Challenge is a program of activities designed to

help cooling-unit manufacturers deliver better products, and to help building

owners install and use those products in their new and existing low-rise,

nonresidential buildings (such as suburban retail and office buildings).


Many western states are hot and dry,

but use cooling systems that were designed for warm and humid climates. The

Cooling Challenge is based on the premise that Western-specific technologies

should be able to cool using far less energy.


The potential energy savings are

substantial, Modera said: Commercial rooftop air-conditioning units are used to

cool 70% of the floor area in nonresidential buildings in the western U.S.


Coolerado CEO Mike Luby said his

company’s five-ton H-80 rooftop unit is designed principally for light

commercial buildings. One H-80 is able to cool 1,500 to 3,000 square feet of

commercial floor area.


The firm is now taking H-80 orders

for delivery late this year. Luby said, “There will be a higher first cost

associated with this equipment, but with utility rebates, tax incentives and

energy savings, our customers should make up that difference in just two