Unlocking hyperefficient cooling

How growing demand for cooling is producing more heat-trapping greenhouse gases — and what we can do about it.

It may not garner the same amount of attention as higher-profile sectors, but cooling accounts for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than even aviation or shipping.

Demand for cooling is expected to triple by 2050. And in places where global warming is triggering intense heat waves, cooling has become a matter of life and death. 

Cleaner, more efficient air-conditioning technology already exists. Why aren’t we using it? And how do we make it more affordable and widely available?

In this episode, guest host Lara Pierpoint talks with Jessy Rivest, vice president and general manager of the Cleantech program at PARC, where she develops and commercializes new cooling technologies.

Lara and Jessy examine the two key technologies inside an air conditioner. The first is the cooling itself, a sophisticated process involving refrigerants. The second is humidity control, an energy-intensive process that Jessy thinks is ripe for an upgrade.

Jessy also talks about the challenges of higher upfront costs associated with more efficient cooling options and how incentives like the Global Cooling Prize are addressing them. She points out market opportunities like cooling-as-a-service and rebates from utilities to help avoid grid blackouts. And they dig into refrigerants, new types of desiccants, heat pumps and even ice. 

Lara and Jessy also discuss ventilation and air-quality technologies that intersect with health, a key consideration during the pandemic and wildfire season.

And Lara talks about turtles and sartorial approaches to manage that enduring office debate: How cold should it be in the building?

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.