The Coolerado H-80 cooling unit in the testing laboratory at the Advanced HVAC Lab in Golden, CO. (Coolerado Corp.)
Coolerado Corp. of Denver, CO is the first winner of the UC Davis “Western Cooling Challenge.” Recent federal tests showed that their five-ton commercial rooftop unit should be able to air-condition a typical big-box store with less than half the energy needed by conventional cooling units.

Many western states are hot and dry, but use cooling systems designed for warm and humid climates. The UC Davis Western Cooling Challenge is based on the premise that Western-specific technologies should be able to cool using far less energy.

Launched in June 2008, the Western Cooling Challenge is a program of activities designed to help cooling-unit manufacturers deliver better products, and to help building owners install and use those products in their new and existing low-rise, nonresidential buildings.

“Coolerado's entry in the Western Cooling Challenge was the first to take our rigorous tests at the Advanced HVAC Lab at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO," said Mark Modera, director of the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center. “While our target was a 40 percent reduction in energy use and peak electricity demand compared to conventional cooling units, the Coolerado H-80 tests indicate almost 80 percent energy-use savings and over 60 percent peak-demand reduction."

Coolerado CEO Mike Luby said the five-ton H-80 rooftop unit is designed principally for light commercial buildings. One H-80 is able to cool 1,500 to 3,000 square feet of commercial floor area. “There will be a higher first cost associated with this equipment, but with utility rebates, tax incentives, and energy savings, our customers should make up that difference in just two years," said Luby. The firm is now taking H-80 orders for delivery late this year.

The completed certification of the first unit puts the Western Cooling Challenge right on schedule to have a selection of new equipment reach the market by spring of 2010, Modera said. Five other manufacturers have promised to submit equipment for Western-Cooling-Challenge efficiency testing, and more results should be available by the end of the year.

(UC Davis) .