Ice is being used for more than chilling your drinks these days. Using ice storage technology from CALMAC, a global leader in energy storage, JC Penney has been cooling off efficiently for a quarter century.
Energy Manger Today cites that by adopting this approach to air conditioning, the retailer saved an average of $100,000 at its Plano, TX, headquarters.
“Ice storage is a tool for dramatically reducing peak demand, which is the utilities’ real problem, while possibly also saving energy,” wrote CALMAC CEO Mark MacCracken in response to emailed questions from Energy Manager Today. “The energy savings vary by installation application. One way it saves energy is it shifts usage to nighttime generation which in most areas of the country is much more.”
The technology works by freezing water at night, then using that ice during the day for various cooling operations. Storing energy during off-peak hours results in energy that is cleaner and more efficient when used during peak hours.
While the market for this kind of technology is not big at the moment, it is significantly growing. Transparency Market Research estimated that the market would increase profits from $600 million in 2013 to $1.8 billion by 2020. In a typical house, about 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.
Researchers at CALMAC are not the only ones looking to improve how we will be cooling off in summer months. Researchers at Arizona State University are working to develop new technology to help lower the cost of air conditioning. The researcher was funded by the Department of Energy.
According to Fox News, the Department of Energy gave a group of researchers $2 million to improve the energy efficiency of single pane windows, which are not known to be as energy efficient. Homeowners can spend thousands replacing them as about a third of the homes in the United States have them.
Keeping in mind that two-thirds of American homes have air conditioners, any way money can be saved will be greatly appreciated.
“We can save people that have single pane windows $12 billion a year in energy savings,” said Peter Firth, one of the researchers assigned to the project.