The California Energy Commission intensified efforts to cut summer peak-energy demand when it recently approved Ice Energy's energy-storage air conditioner under the Title 24 building energy code, a key move that could boost the Windsor, Colo.-based company's market.
The Ice Bear(TM) system slashes peak electricity demand for air conditioning 95 percent, reduces electricity bills for businesses and homes, provides superior air-conditioned comfort and improves building energy efficiency.
State certified energy modeling software shows the Ice Bear product isthe most powerful compliance option available to California building designers to achieve compliance for light commercial and residential building permits.
Conventional air-conditioning units, even high-SEER models, don't fare well under the energy code because they typically consume 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts of energy during peak hours. In contrast, Ice Energy's products use only 300 watts of peak energy.
In October 2005, California officials revised the state's Title 24 energy standards, described by the California Building Industry Association as "the toughest in the nation," to more aggressively address California's peak-energy demand crisis. The revised energy code focuses on air conditioners more than any other energy-consuming product, since air conditioners represent about 50 percent of peak summertime energy demand.
"We thoroughly evaluated the Ice Bear's potential as a compliance option and found it to be extremely effective in reducing on-peak air conditioning energy demand," said Charles Eley of Architectural Engineering Corp.
"California is solving its peak energy crisis by focusing on the root cause of the problem -- energy demand from air conditioning," said Ice Energy CEO Frank Ramirez. "Our products directly address the objectives of Title 24, and we anticipate accelerated market adoption similar to how low-e glass and compact fluorescent lighting became well-known energy-saving products. Although California is Ice Energy's initial market focus, our products can help solve the global peak-energy problem."
The Ice Bear module works with conventional rooftop and split-system air conditioners that cool almost all light-commercial and residential buildings. The Ice Bear module operates a standard condensing unit at night, when energy is readily available and less costly. The condensing unit freezes water in the Ice Bear insulated storage tank. The next day when the thermostat calls for cooling, standard refrigerant is circulated through coils in the ice. The chilled refrigerant then flows to the building's air-conditioning system.
More than 15 California cities, including Anaheim, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Riverside and Sacramento, along with several utilities, have installed Ice Energy products on municipal office buildings, restaurants, fire stations, libraries, recreation facilities, schools, small retailers and big-box retail chains. Victorville authorities recently gave the go-ahead to install Ice Bear systems on most city buildings.
The Southern California Public Power Authority demonstrated Ice Bear modules in a multi-city project across its service territory, which includes more than 2 million customers and 12 cities.