Air conditioning can do much more than deliver cool air. Keeping your office at a pleasant temperature with air conditioners can keep productivity up and employee morale high. The best air conditioning units or systems for your office or home can also cut your energy costs and improve air quality. Some air conditioners will even provide heat to boot. Air conditioners come in a wide array of styles — from small portable air conditioners to central air conditioning systems.
When shopping for an air conditioner, consider the following options:
1. Energy efficient air conditioners.
2. Central air conditioning.
3. Using evaporation (swamp) coolers for air conditioning.
4. Window air conditioners and wall air conditioning units.
5. Portable air conditioners.
6. Industrial and institutional air conditioners.
Air conditioners and the green factorEnergy efficiency is the driving force behind innovation in today's air conditioners, which are becoming ever greener. Replacing older air conditioner models offers immediate cost and energy benefits. As ozone-harming hydrochlorofluorocarbons are phased out (completely by 2030) and replaced by hydrofluorocarbons and other coolants or technologies, the march toward energy efficiency will accelerate. Always look for the Energy Star label.
Properly Sized Air Conditioners page. Buying the right air conditioner for your room size is the key to cost and energy efficiency. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturer’s worksheet will help you determine how powerful an air conditioner you need. MSN shopping allows you to search portable, wall and window air conditioners by brand and price, comparing the prices of six sellers. To cool a single room Compact Alliance offers the Edgestar Portable Air Cooler with Ionic Air Purifier for $99, an eco-friendly tower unit that uses no Freon, no CFCs and uses less energy than most light bulbs.
Central air conditioningCentral air conditioning systems can be either split systems where the condenser and compressor are located in an outdoor unit while the evaporator is mounted in the air handling unit (often a forced air furnace) or a package unit in which all components are located in a single outdoor unit. HVAC refers to a complete heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system.
Evaporation (swamp) coolers for air conditioningAlthough not technically considered air conditioners, evaporation or swamp coolers can be an efficient dry-climate solution. They work by pulling fresh outside air through moist pads where the air is cooled by evaporation.
Portable air conditionersPortable air conditioner units, which can be stowed away when not needed, have gained some popularity over window and wall units and are often more energy efficient.
Industrial and institutional air conditioningFrom manufacturing plants to office buildings to institutional buildings like hospitals and schools, large spaces all require substantial air conditioning systems.
- When buying a central air conditioning system, shop locally and get competitive bids from contractors with North American Technician Excellence (NATE) training or Energy Star experience.
- While Energy Star air conditioners may be more expensive up front, they will save you money in the long run.
- For top cooling and energy efficiency, pay special attention to room size when shopping for an air conditioner.
- Proper insulation, reflective roofing material, energy-efficient windows and doors, shading and ventilation will all improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.
- Check to see if your local municipality offers incentives for installing energy-efficient air conditioners.