3 Core Advantages of Thermal Storage AC

by Dr. Marcel Christians, Co-COO, Ice Energy

So you’re looking to replace your old air conditioner at home, or perhaps it’s already broken and need something ASAP. You’ve also been looking at the news lately, you know that you are going to be shifted to a time-of-use rate (https://www.utilitydive.com/news/california-utilities-prep-nations-biggest-time-of-use-rate-roll-out/543402/), so it’s smart to get your home appliances ready to manage your energy consumption.

You’ve shifted to LEDs, upgraded your windows, bought a new gas drier, your new dishwasher can run during off-peak hours and you swapped out your electric hot water heater for one that runs on natural gas. You’re ready right?

What about the biggest electrical load in your house? What can we, as consumers, do about managing our air conditioning load? One strategy has been to precool your home while you are at work, and ride out the peak hours of 4-9PM without using A/C. This works, and as long as you don’t mind a chilly house at the beginning of the period and a slightly stuffy one towards the end.

An alternative is energy storage, and to put a finer point on it, thermal storage air conditioning. With the residential Ice Bear product line, consumers can replace their old/broken outdoor units with an all-in-one TES air conditioning system. During off-peak hours, or when you’re generating too much power from your solar (which you’d be giving away to the grid), the Ice Bear can absorb all of that inexpensive electrical energy and store it as ice. During peak hours, you can use your AC as you normally would – except that now your house is being cooled from ice, using 95% less energy than any other air conditioner available.

What are the advantages of thermal storage air conditioning?

  1. Cost: with an Ice Bear you are getting both energy storage and an air conditioning unit. While you could technically get a home battery like a Tesla Powerwall, you’ll also need to buy a new AC. Plus, if you want to run air conditioning, Tesla requires you to purchase two Powerwalls, otherwise you void the warranty! That’s three new pieces of equipment vs a single all-in-one unit.
  2. System efficiency: it is more energy efficient to make ice during the coolest part of the day and use that ice for cooling than to run an air conditioning unit at the hottest time of the day. What this means is that not only will your Ice Bear cooling cost less since you are using inexpensive energy, it will also reduce your actual electrical energy use compared to a 14SEER air conditioning unit.
  3. Safety and environment: We use a single tank of water as our storage medium – it gets filled once during installation and under normal operation, needs no top up during its lifetime. The great majority of components are recyclable at end-of-life, just like your traditional air conditioner. And most importantly, none of our components are flammable.