Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The World's Largest Alternative Energy Project is Air-Conditioning?

According to this article in the Toronto Star - Hollywood Actor Alec Baldwin launched the world's largest alternative energy project in Toronto yesterday. The $170 million initiative uses cold lake water to cool downtown office buildings.

The deep lake cooling system cuts electricity consumption in commercial buildings by 75% by utilizing near freezing water from 83 metres below the surface of Lake Ontario.

It has the capacity to air-condition 32 million square feet of office space - the equivalent of 8,000 homes.

The article doesn't explain in detail how the heat exchange system works however I suspect it's similar to heat pump systems that can be installed in individual homes which can be used for both heating and cooling as an alternative to traditional air-conditioning and heating systems. One of our readers in Canada has requested tips on how to make their home more energy efficient, in the future we will be giving further coverage to heat pump systems.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will dumping all that heat (in summer) or extracting heat (in winter) change the ecosystem of the lake and its environs?

If the energy load is significant (and the article implies it is), of course it will!

11:19 am, August 19, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read an article sometime ago about a new London office building that was designed to not require air conditioning. I cannot remember what techniques were used, but I will try to locate the article and re-post.

Sadly the project failed, because the large open office spaces (that the cooling system depended on) had to be partitioned to rent the space.

4:23 pm, August 19, 2004  
Blogger Joel said...

Thanks James, for letting me know about this blog... Ran into an interesting web page at - Basically it's a huge air compressor. Just seemed to me to be a way to produce power by means of compressed air when you don't have enough water volume to go hydroelectric. Run the compressed air through a Hilsch vortex tube and bango, instant hot-and-cold running air.

I'm just glad that biodiesel is starting to catch on. - Even Rudolf Diesel used vegetable oils to power his early engines. When I Googled his name, I found out he also invented a solar-powered air engine, but I haven't found drawings or specs yet. Anyhow, I'm babbling - blog atcha later!


8:39 pm, August 23, 2004  
Blogger Derek said...

Pretty cool air compressor. Wonder what the flow rates required are for a given amount of air/pressure/energy. This kind of tech could be used with the same generators they use for compressed air energy storage in salt mines, though those run at higher pressures (> 100atm). Very cool in any case.

1:27 am, August 24, 2004  

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