In South Africa’s hot summers, air conditioning offers welcome relief from soaring temperatures. However, it’s vital to choose an air conditioning system that can cool the required space efficiently.
The right system will save energy, reducing costs, and ensure that your home is perfectly comfortable. A more efficient system also has less impact on the environment.
According to The International Energy Agency, using only energy-efficient air conditioners could decrease greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by up to 39 percent in developing countries, such as South Africa.
Choose an air conditioner with the right BTU
First, buy the right size air conditioner for the space you plan to cool. To do this, measure the area in square metres. This determines what BTU to look for in an air conditioning unit.
The BTU rating of an air conditioning system tells you how much energy – or more accurately, how many British Thermal Units – the system can add or remove from the air per hour. In practice, this tells you how big a space the system is capable of cooling or heating.
In South Africa, a rating of about 500 BTU per square metre, given a standard ceiling height, is recommended. You can also calculate a recommended BTU using an online BTU calculator.
If the BTU rating is too low for your space, the air conditioner will struggle to get the area to the required temperature and may run constantly.
If the BTU rating is too high, the system will have too short a cycle, frequently switching on and off. This increases power consumption and can put stress on components.
Check efficiency ratings for air conditioners
Two ratings can help you compare the energy efficiency of different air conditioners.
The energy efficiency rating (EER) indicates the system’s overall energy consumption and efficiency. The higher the rating, the less energy an air conditioner uses and the less it will cost to run.
An air conditioner is also given a coefficient of performance (COP) rating, which measures its energy consumption and cooling/ heating output. The higher the rating, the better.
Choose an air conditioner with inverter technology
With inverter technology, an air conditioner doesn’t repeatedly switch on, work at full capacity to cool a room to the required temperature and then switch off again. Instead, it maintains a consistent ambient temperature, constantly adjusting its output.
This results in quieter operation, as well as energy savings.
Ways to reduce energy consumption
Once you’ve chosen an air conditioner and had it installed, you can minimize energy consumption by keeping it set at between 18°C and 22°C. This is the temperature range at which air conditioners are typically the most energy-efficient.
However, avoid setting the unit to a temperature more then 10°C above or below the ambient, non-conditioned temperature. If it’s 40°C in a room, expecting an air conditioner to cool the temperature to something like 18°C is asking too much, and will consume a lot of power.
Generally, opt for a system that lets you condition only the rooms that are currently being used so you don’t waste energy on cooling empty spaces.
An eco-friendly alternative to traditional air conditioning
Turbine ventilators, or roof vents, are the world’s most energy-efficient cooling systems. They don’t use any electricity or harmful gases at all. Instead, they harness the natural power of the wind.
Turbine ventilators aren’t only for factories – models designed specifically for domestic use are also available.
A turbine ventilator is mounted on the roof. It consists of a round mental vent with fins, which spin if there’s even the gentlest of breezes. It pulls stale or polluted air from inside a building, causing fresh, clean air to enter in its place.
At Turbovent, we offer a comprehensive range of high quality air cooling systems, including energy-efficient air conditioners from leading manufacturers and both industrial and domestic turbine ventilators. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.