Solar Powered Air Conditioner – the new Millenia

SolCool Millennia Air Conditioner thumbnail

SolCool has a new solar-powered air conditioner, the Millenia, to be released next month. Unlike some of its earlier “full system” two-ton offerings, the Millenia is a good replacement for a conventional window or portable unit for spot cooling.

Practical considerations. The Millenia It can run on power grids in either the US or UK. It weighs about 200 pounds and can be mounted on wheels for portability. It has both cooling and heating functions. It comes with a remote control and a 5 yr warranty.

Green considerations: It’s solar powered so it’s an energy saver. It does require some electricity but will keep going in a blackout, day or night: it can run on solar-charged battery power for up to 24 hours. It’s also a “water saver”: the condensate from the air conditioner can be routed to another SolCool product, the Aquacell, to produce filtered drinking water. What will they think of next?

From the SolCool website:

The version four SolCool has two DC compressors, (one DC compressor will be a heat pump) with on board batteries that will last up to 24 hours between charge cycles. The version four is a 1.5 ton package unit that has a three speed blower and is operated by temperature activated remote control. A two gallon, on board condensate management tank will temporarily hold unit condensation with the ability to pump the condensate to a detached reservoir, drain or an Aquacell bottled water cooler system for filtered drinking water.

The SolCool footprint is 24”x 24” at the base and 48” vertical. Vertical height can be reduced to 36” if the battery bank is remotely located. Weight with standard on board battery back up is approximately 200 pounds. The maximum draw at full engagement is less than 500 watts.

So it’s an energy saver – but at what cost? About $3000 + $500 for installation according to published reports.

Going Green at the Beach – Leading Edge Green Home

Can a “mortgage banker and green advocate” find happiness by giving up a life of luxury to go green? This news article says yes. Going Green at the Beach documents Dave & Anna Porter’s quest to build a cutting edge “Craftsman” green home in Snohomish County, Washington.

The Porters aim to meet the requirements of not one but all five existing residential green building certification programs:

thus making it a record setting and hopefully trend setting green home.

How is this home greener than the rest?

  • Original home deconstructed, saving 80% of original material from going to landfills
  • Doors, kitchen cabinets recycled from original home
  • Geothermal heat
  • Radiant floor heating system
  • Rainwater collection system
  • Tankless hot water with recirculation system

… among many other features. The full list is quite lengthy: they’ve obviously put a lot of thought and effort into the design.

One of the things that jumped out from the list is that it is a “modest-sized home on a small lot”. How is that special? Well for people who used to drive a “gas-gulping Jaguar” and have a “4,000-square-foot home”, this is progress. As noted in my previous post, buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US – small(er) is beautiful.

The demonstration home is an expensive proposition but lucky for the Porters, they’re not “going it alone”. They are being assisted in their quest by a team of professionals, have sponsors and a marketing team.

When the beach house is finished in the fall, the Porters plan to report on how efficiently it performs, right down to the utility bills. They also will open their doors for tours.

The site seems new, much of the content is under construction but looks promising. My only disappointment with the site: they promised green tips from the family dog and I couldn’t find any. Skipper, the “recycled dog”, looks really cute in his hard hat and tool belt. Maybe that’s coming later …

Solar Power for your Hot Tub

Thinking about green or alternative energy and looking for “doable” ways to start? Check out Home Improvement Ideas’s post Heat Your Hot Tub with Solar Power.

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