At CoolGreenPower, it's our mission to achieve a future where cooling is smart, efficient and effective. We focus on simple, quick and inexpensive solutions for business owners and government leaders.
When our founder Joe Mueller returned to the US after working and living in Asia for 16 years as a Managing Director for Accenture, he wanted to help companies change operations to minimize risk and fight climate change. The emerging triple bottom line philosophy was appealing; People, Planet, and Profits.
Sustainability is the future
Joe founded CoolGreenPowerr to help businesses of all shapes and sizes achieve their triple bottom line leveraging innovative technologies. Joe did not have any bright ideas on what he could invent but felt that there were probably plenty of innovative technologies invented by entrepreneurs smarter than he that were not getting sufficient attention or were getting high resistance to change. As he started doing his research, not only did he want to have a big impact but he felt it was critical that the technology was affordable to even the smallest “mom and pop’ convenience store owner.
Energy efficiency is America’s largest energy resource
Joe first learned that more than 60 percent of energy produced in the US is wasted. At the same time, Joe was seeing an increased demand for electricity, driven by the rapid growth of electric vehicles (Tesla in particular). Joe read US research that energy efficiency programs were the least-cost resource option compared to supply-side energy options. Joe learned that energy efficiency contributes most to the nation’s energy needs (vs. oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear power) and accounts for more than 2.2 million U.S. jobs (10 times more than oil and gas drilling or coal mining). Finally, accelerating energy efficiency enables a more rapid shift to renewable energy (i.e., using less means you need to produce less).
Given these findings, Joe narrowed his scope to Energy Efficiency and started talking with companies who participated in the industry. Joe hung out and spoke with founders operating out of the world’s largest clean tech incubator (Greentown Labs) in nearby Somerville, Mass. The conclusion: energy efficiency is a noble cause but is a hard, long road to success and that most fail.
This did not deter Joe. In fact, this motivated him more. Joe felt that good ideas were invented all over the world and wondered if he could embrace a technology that was already proven in one geography and bring it to the US. This would lessen the entrepreneurial risk. Most business and government agencies still operate in physical buildings. Joe observed that businesses and utilities were rapidly embracing LED lighting to replace incandescent bulbs and CFLs. This was a good sign. As Joe studied buildings and how they consume resources, Joe read that HVAC systems represent a significant portion of typical energy costs (as much as 50-60%). Joe knew very little about HVAC but he knew one thing – it was an electro-mechanical machine – and energy efficiency might be a challenge if people did not maintain their machine.
Air conditioning technology hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years
Willis Carrier introduced the world to his revolutionary air conditioner at the Rivoli Theatre in Times Square in 1925 — and the way modern-day HVAC experts tell it, the technology has stayed stuck in the ‘20s ever since. Joe conducted interviews with building owners, HVAC system engineers, and HVAC service providers. Joe read research produced by the Department of Energy, ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), and our national labs (Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest). It was clear that HVAC was a big problem that many people are trying to solve for and taking a wide variety of approaches.
Joe learned about the many challenges with existing commercial buildings that cause difficulties for HVAC systems. ASHRAE talks about proper sizing of HVAC systems but many buildings change owners and purposes over time, and when the new owners take over, they more often than not use the existing HVAC system rather than redesign and replace for the new use case… or they might add a new supplemental system hoping it might help. Furthermore, many building’s have increased heat load due to the additional technology used, which adds to the demand generated by people in the buildings. Then, there is the increased number of cooling degree day we are experiencing which most believe is related to climate change. HVAC systems today and in the future need to respond to more variable demand than ever.
Energy efficiency is a journey, not a destination
Joe learned that the most important energy efficiency action a business can do for their HVAC system is preventative maintenance (PM). Doing this keeps your cooling system performance at it’s best, avoids early failure of components, and is the foundation for adding energy efficiency measures. At the annual Energy Exchange conference sponsored by the US Department of Energy, a top ESCO that serves the US federal and commercial markets said that there is an average recoverable 22% efficiency from PM. Although the cost of PM is not high, it turns out that most businesses and government agencies do not do it. When they do it, they do not have the skills or tools in place to measure whether the PM was actually done or not, and you can imagine in this situation, there may be some HVAC firms out there who are not doing their highest quality work or even the work at all.
After PM, Joe was told that programmable thermostats were very important for energy efficiency. Joe was familiar with those because his family used them in his home when they went away on family vacations. Although having a set-point schedule to focus on comfort during peak and savings during slower or unoccupied time, this is also about energy wasting people behaviors, such as leaving the AC blasting all night in the summer.
Having spent his childhood on a farmstead, Joe’s family did not have air conditioning but they knew all about using fans to blow in cool outside air overnight. Joe learned that the formal name for that in HVAC was called an Economizer. Joe also learned that the 3 speed fan he used as a kid also had a formal name in HVAC – Variable Frequency Drive (VFDs). HVAC systems typically came with a single speed supply fan and economizer and VFDs were added to improve energy efficiency.
Finally, there was the compressor. This is the HVAC system component that consumes that vast majority of the energy yet nobody seemed to be doing anything about it. Why? It was risky and expensive. If the compressor stops working, there is no cooling. Fixing it requires expertise and when it breaks, there is a huge sense of urgency. This is where the COOLNOMIX® story begins since the technology is focused on the compressor.
COOLNOMIX® = “Cooling” + “Economics”.
The COOLNOMIX® technology, invented by patent holder Kevin Moore, had a multi-year history of success including utility incentives in certain countries (.e.g, UK, New Zealand). However, in 2014, COOLNOMIX® had not yet been introduced in the US (Kevin had a brother in the US but as an artist his role to support his brother was to design the COOLNOMIX® logo but not much else). There is a 10+ year history of COOLNOMIX® that Kevin will share with you at length if you allow him to (he is a great storyteller). The punch line is that COOLNOMIX® is a low cost, add-on technology that helps the existing control system to maintain or improves temperature stability while reducing compressor run-time, saving on average 30% of the compressor related energy. COOLNOMIX® has a single output, a relay that is either closed (standard operation) or open (COOLNOMIX® energy savings mode). According to Kevin Moore’s patent (US, PCT, etc.), COOLNOMIX® uses data collected from two attached temperature sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) software to perform it’s job.
In early 2015, CoolGreenPower became the master distributor for COOLNOMIX® in the US and Canada. Once Intertek put their stamp of UL certification approval on COOLNOMIX® in May 2015, CoolGreenPower started making COOLNOMIX® available for purchase across the US, recommending businesses procure through partners but also offering the option to buy direct from CoolGreenPower, if preferred.
There are a number of businesses that have provided facilities and funding to help with COOLNOMIX® demonstration projects in the US including the Department of Defense ESTCP program, Wood PLC, California’s Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council, Nasa / Kennedy Space Center, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the City of Chelsea (Mass), the Town of Winthrop (Mass), amd many more.
COOLNOMIX® in 2019 has two product families that are compatible with Direct Expansion (DX) system, one for air conditioning and one for refrigeration. Kevin and his development team are working on products that work with DX freezer systems and also for water chilled systems.
The Future for CoolGreenPower
In the near term, we are working hard with our partners to drive the success of the COOLNOMIX® technology in the US and Canada. We will continue to work with Kevin Moore and his team to add features and functions that support the markets we serve. We will collaborate with other COOLNOMIX® distributors from around the world to share best practices.
Interoperability is a key focus because this creates the platform for connecting to other systems, exchanging information, and helping businesses achieve their triple bottom line objectives. For example fault detection, diagnostics, and alerts.
When COOLNOMIX® achieves scale deployment in the US market, we expect to establish the second global manufacturing location within the US and plans are already being developed so this can be quickly executed when appropriate.
By going through this process over the past 5 years with the COOLNOMIX® technology, CoolGreenPower intends to support other clean tech entrepreneurs to leverage the CoolGreenPower platform. This will reduce risk and improve speed to market when introducing their innovative technologies to the US and Canada markets.