As the Earth continues to warm, passive designs for natural ventilation and heating are no longer enough in many areas. To escape extreme temperatures in either direction, effective air conditioning and warming are becoming an increasingly essential element of home design. Yet, it comes at a cost to the environment in the form of high energy usage. A company called Gradient has set out to change that with a window unit that’s efficient, innovative and climate-friendly.
Centralized heat pumps have been growing in popularity because of their energy-efficient technology. But those centralized systems are overtly expensive and unattainable by many. Gradient solves both problems with an affordable, compact window unit that can replace any bulky, loud window unit.
Another unique feature of the design is the way it drops below the surface of the window so it doesn’t block the view, eliminating the eyesore of most window units. Plus it’s easy to install, taking about 15 minutes with minimal tools.
The innovation introduces an attainable way to cool spaces, but also produces heat. That means it can heat and cool any space with a window. Although the company says it hasn’t received an official efficiency rating, it states that Gradient uses 30% less energy than a standard AC window unit. When used as the primary source of temperature control, Gradient offers an estimated 75% carbon reduction, depending on the carbon intensity of an area’s electricity. As grids shift to renewable energy, Gradient hopes to achieve 100% carbon reduction.
The coolant inside AC units is another environmental concern, and as Gradient works to launch into the market from its startup location in San Francisco, it’s already looking well into the future saying, “We use R32 today, but our goal is to move to even more climate friendly refrigerants in the near future. Natural refrigerants create more efficient and climate-friendly products; we believe they are the future of the industry. We’re working with regulatory and industry standards to get full approval in the US. They’re already being used in many applications around the globe.”
The company plans to begin commercial production in 2022.
Via Fast Company
Images via Gradient