Could Ice Be the Best A/C ever?


Thule Energy Storage has brought back from the dead, the Ice Bear, originally made by Ice Energy. The solution involves a big box the size of your A/C compressor. Inside is a block of ice and coils. As the day start to heat up, the Ice Bear can shut off the A/C, and start melting ice to cool the living space. After about 6 hours when the ice is completely melted, the traditional A/C turns back on.

Why It Matters:

Not only are electricity prices rising, but utilities are actively hunting solutions that shave peak demand. When the sun is shining in July and everyone turns on their A/C at the same time, that presents a HUGE problem for the utility. Its either build a new powerplant or find a way to reduce demand. The brilliance here is that not only does the Ice Bear relieve the grid from peak demand, it does it without the occupants inside feeling a difference.

How does this fit into the larger trend:

Demand response is the idea that utilities can ask you to reduce your electricity consumption. For example, they can ask and compensate you for turning up your a/c in the summer. This is a large trend that helps utilities stave off investing in another power plant. Demand response usually means making adjustments to your lifestyle (perhaps small, like keeping the temp at 75 degrees instead of 72 in the summer) and in return getting paid to do so. A solution like the Ice Bear means you don't have to change the comfort of your lifestyle and get significant electricity savings.