Hybrid HVAC Systems Show Promise for Smart Grid Market

Another new smart-grid innovation promises to reduce daytime energy demand from air conditioning in commercial buildings by as much as 95 percent. Carrier Corp. has teamed up with Ice Energy, a company that provides smart grid-enabled, distributed energy storage  for commercial users.  The partnership comes just a few weeks after Ice Energy announced a similar deal with Trane. Both deals play to the shift toward more energy efficient systems in commercial buildings — a shift that’s requiring service technicians to navigate new, more complex technologies.

The hybrid Ice Bear system “enables a powerful change in how – and more importantly when – energy is consumed for air conditioning, significantly reducing a building’s daytime energy demand,” according to the partnered companies.

The technology works by freezing water in insulated storage tanks at night, then circulating chilled refrigerant during the peak daytime hours to cool the building. New WeatherMaker and WeatherMaster rooftop models will be rolled out “Ice-Ready.”

With more and more companies plugging into the smart grid, service techs will face new challenges as they maintain and repair smarter, more environmentally friendly products. In an effort to promote energy independence and address global warming, the U.S Department of Energy has awarded more than $3 billion in stimulus grants to various smart grid projects.

ABOUT Sara Suddes

San Francisco-based contributor Sara Suddes writes frequently about small business, the economy and technology.