CLOSE COMFORT AIR-CON PROVIDES A LOW KILOWATT WAY TO COOL DOWN
Here at COOLmob we heard of the Close Comfort air-conditioner on Facebook, and were intrigued that it promised to use only 300 watts of power, making it 75% more energy efficient than comparable personal air conditioners.
This was at the time we were running our Low Income Energy Efficiency Program, and something like this would help people stay cool without the massive power bill hikes. The fact that it also runs off a standard power outlet, can run on battery generator power, and doesn't require water to run, made it sound extremely versatile and portable... we had to get our hands on one to try.
Incomes Mick. Mick is a longtime COOLmob supporter, and having previously worked with COOLmob as an energy efficiency auditor, he seemed perfect to test run the COOL FOCUS. Mick lives in a small open plan converted shipping container in the Darwin suburbs, and is committed to using as little energy as possible. Currently he only uses 3kWh per day - very impressive! Mick's home featured in Sustainable House Day 2020, and you can take a virtual tour of his Recycle Home online.
COOLmob: Mick, how was your experience using the COOL FOCUS?
Mick: I’m very happy to report that the unit is working really well. I don't have air-conditioning in my home, a converted shipping container with high airflow through doors and windows, but was impressed with this small unit. I found it worked really well in our challenging climate conditions. The Darwin build-up period, after the Dry season and before the Wet season, is about as tough as it gets in regards to humidity and heat, in combination. While the air-con cools well, it does not dry the air, as so does not create a huge amount of water in the over flow, this can be a challenge with larger mobile air conditioners.
I found the unit perfect for when you just what to cool yourself, rather than the whole room. This is a motto that COOLmob have been prompting for many years; “cool yourself, don’t cool the room”.
COOLmob: As an energy auditor, how did the unit perform in regards to energy efficiency? Did it deliver on what it promised?
Mick: The power consumption is incredible, and the unit seemed to be a quality build, with no sign of any wear and tear in the compressor or fan. I used an energy monitor to measure power consumption, and true to the specs, it is using exactly 300 watts. When calculated with our current cost for power, it works out to cost 8.4 cents per hour for cooling, which is as good as it gets.
COOLmob: Any issues?
Mick: There is a slight issue with excess heat building up in a confined space, at my desk I can point the exhaust out the doorway, in my bedroom, it is less easy to direct the heat out of the room, but the space in front of the unit always remains nice and cool. I did experiment with building a duct to direct the warm air out the window and this seems to do the job. I will build a better interface for the ducting so the window can be closed. When used like this the the room is ambient and the space in front of the cooler is lovely. In a bigger room this warm air would likely not be an issue.
COOLmob: So you'd recommend the unit to Top Enders looking to stay cool on a budget?
Mick: I see a lot of potential here in the NT, especially with the versatility it has in being able to be used in spaces that are not completely sealed.
From my experience delivering energy efficiency audits to low income earners in Darwin, we know there are a lot of people living indoor/outdoor formats, and a lot of low income (and not low income for that matter) people in short term housing, with poor or expensive cooling facilities. I believe this is the best possible unit for people in these situations. The pay back on one of these would only be a year or two compared to running a large house split system.
For more information on Close Comfort, check out their website.