Making your home more green starts with taking stock of the appliances and devices that use electricity. Aside from costing you extra in monthly bills, using more energy creates more of an impact on the environment. And for the large majority of us, the equipment used to air condition our homes draws more power than the other appliances. That means one of the top items to address first for more green living is your air conditioner. There are more benefits for the environment beyond energy use as well. Let’s look deeper to discover which air conditioners are best for a green living focus.
What Factors Impact How Green An Air Conditioner Is?
There are many factors involved in the environmental impact of an AC unit. Some of these factors stem from energy use, while others are side effects of the way the unit is produced. Here are four of the leading factors that impact how green an air conditioner is.
Increased Carbon Emissions From Coal Power Plants
If you live in an area where the majority or all of your energy comes from a coal power plant, every watt you burn at home creates carbon emissions. Using air conditioners that are less energy efficient could potentially lead to more pollution not just for the planet, but near your hometown as well.
That said, even if you have a more eco-friendly energy source like solar, there’s a strong case for conserving this power for more fruitful purposes than comfort alone.
Transport From Distant Manufacturers
The world’s economy is increasingly global, and air conditioners are no exception. Many AC units are made overseas in China, resulting in long journeys to finally end up in your home. All of that transport adds up, contributing to carbon emissions from the diesel trucks, trains, and boats that ship these products across the world. Simply put, the shorter the distance from the factory to your home, the more green the air conditioner is overall.
Equipment Lifespan And Disposal
While low cost and energy consumption might seem like the ultimate combination, there’s another factor that can offset these benefits. The lifespan of the air conditioning unit also should be taken into consideration in your green living equation. When an AC unit reaches the end of its service life, there can still be refrigerants and other elements that could contribute to negative environmental effects. Because inexpensive AC units need to be replaced more often, more waste is churned into the environment, along with potentially releasing harmful contaminants. Simply put, the longer your air conditioner lasts, the better it is for the environment.
Intelligent Control Systems
In order to reduce the energy consumption of an air conditioner, there needs to be an intelligent control system. Even if an AC unit is efficient while operating, the less it runs, the better. Optimizing the run times and frequency of compressor cycling is essential to minimizing energy consumption as much as possible. That makes smart control systems a must-have for those wanting to reduce the impact that their air conditioning usage has on climate change. Therefore, finding systems with WiFi connectivity is ideal when it comes to AC control systems.
What Kind Of Air Conditioners Are More Environmentally Friendly?
Okay, so what kind of air conditioning systems are the most environmentally friendly? Let’s run down the list of what your alternatives are so you can choose the best AC unit for greener living at home.
Evaporative Cooling Systems
When your goal is cooling your home with the least amount of environmental impact possible, evaporative cooling systems are a leading option. That’s because these air conditioners use water to cool the air rather than refrigerant systems. By forgoing the traditional method of cooling the air, no compressor is required either. Since the compressor is typically what uses the most electricity, you’ll conserve energy while depending on potentially hazardous gasses. Of course, the downside is these systems don’t have the cooling capability needed for hotter environments.
Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners with Timers
Smaller spaces like sheds, garages, and tiny houses don’t require the power and costly installation of a central air system. So often what you’ll find cooling these types of buildings is a packaged terminal air conditioner, a type of Wall AC Unit. These are all-in-one units that can provide both cooling and heating. Because these systems are easily transported and compact in size, more of them can be shipped in a single truckload than multi-part systems like mini-splits or central HVAC systems. That means they have less of a carbon footprint than the aforementioned alternatives. Finding Wall air conditioners with a timer like the Frigidaire FFRP092HT3 is one way these systems can be even more environmentally friendly.
Smart Window Air Conditioners
Sometimes the air conditioner that makes the most sense for your living space is a window unit. Traditionally, these systems haven’t been the most friendly to the environment. But newer systems like the GE PHC08LY offer Apple HomeKit and location services integration. Adding smart features to window air conditioners means you’ll be able to have the system automatically turn off when you leave and kick back on when you’re almost home. This particular AC unit is also Energy Star certified, making it one of the best choices for those focused on green living.
AC Systems That Are LEED Certified
If you’re trying to achieve LEED certification for your home or commercial building, you’ll want to consider high efficiency cooling systems that feature occupancy sensors, variable speed drives, economizer cycles, and CO2 monitors. Gold and platinum certifications leverage new technologies like geothermal energy to provide direct radiant cooling and heating. These types of air conditioners pump a non-freezable solution underground to capture the earth’s naturally constant temperature for indoor temperature control. That way, the energy used to cool your home is minimized, and refrigerant gasses aren’t necessary.
Find More On Green Home Living Here
When you are working to improve how green your life is, there are nearly endless ways to make changes. Making your home more green is the best place to start with these changes. You can find more tips about environmentally friendly home renovations and improvements right here. Be sure to browse our blog and learn how living green can be easy and enjoyable!