California Cooling Challenge Yields Energy Efficient Air Conditioner

Published February 2013 by

A University of California, Davis challenge to create more energy-efficient air conditioning lead to the creation of a rooftop air conditioner that is 40% more energy efficient than conventional units.  Trane, a major global manufacturer of heating, ventilating and air cooling systems, is the second manufacturer to achieve Western Cooling Challenge certification.

Trane’s new Voyager DC is a hybrid rooftop air conditioner that uses indirect, evaporative cooling to increase cooling capacity and reduce peak electrical demand.  The 40% increase in efficiency is a hug benefit for commercial building owners who will face rising electric utility rates and large additional charges for power used during peak periods.

Voyager DC uses evaporation to cool outside air for the condenser on an otherwise conventional air conditioner.  The air conditioner then uses the water chilled by evaporation to cool the hot outside air used for building ventilation.  This technique increases the number of hours the system can use “free cooling” to cool a space and dramatically reduces the amount of time the system has to run at full capacity. 

The California Public Utility Commission’s Statewide Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan calls for rapid commercialization of cooling technologies that are adapted for dry, hot climates.  Trane’s Voyager DC is market ready and entering production.

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