- Can solar panels provide the electricity needed for air conditioning?
This depends very much on the property. In detached houses with a roof free of shadows and pointing in a suitable direction, solar power can easily produce more electricity than the property consumes in the summer – including cooling.
Conversely, in tall apartment buildings with a high cooling requirement and a small roof area for solar panels, solar power may only cover a fraction of the electricity consumption from air conditioning. Panels can be installed on the façade to boost the building’s solar power potential.
- How is cooling handled in data centres?
Cooling can account for about a quarter of all the electricity a data centre consumes.
Finland offers good potential for data centres to use free cooling by taking cooling energy from the outdoor air, a body of water, or the soil and transferring it without a compressor to the place it is needed, usually via cooling water. If there is not enough free cooling, data centres often make up the difference using air conditioners with compressors, which consume more electricity than free cooling.
District cooling is another good option, provided the data centre is near a district cooling network. District cooling solutions normally allow waste heat to be recovered and transferred to the district heating network, making the system highly energy efficient.
- How much does it cost to cool a detached house?
Using a heat-source heat pump to cool a detached house for an entire summer consumes 100–500 kWh. If the electricity price is 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, the cost of cooling the house will be EUR 15–75 for the entire summer, depending on the device’s power rating, cooling method, and areas to be cooled.
- Cooling does not seem particularly expensive. If there is a heatwave, is it better to use an air conditioner than suffer the high temperatures?
Cooling should be used in moderation. Air-source heat pumps remove moisture from the air, so an indoor temperature of 24–25°C may feel suitable for many people during a heatwave.
The total electricity consumption of cooling devices – including the service sector – is significant, even in Finland, and it is worth considering the energy efficiency of cooling. For example, heat pumps enable more waste heat from cooling to be recovered. More and more attention has been paid to this in recent years.