Wednesday, December 6, 2023
HomeTechnologySustainable cooling of buildings is a huge opportunity for European startups

Sustainable cooling of buildings is a huge opportunity for European startups

Rising temperatures across Europe, combined with aging populations and rapid urbanization, not only make people more exposed to heat, but also increase the need for cooling systems in buildings.

In fact, the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that heat waves have killed between 77,000 and 129,000 people in the 32 member states of the European Economic Area between 1980 and 2020. This accounts for 86%-91% of total deaths from climate-related extreme events.

Heat waves are expected to be more intense and frequent than ever before, the agency warns that the EU is facing a key sustainability challenge: how to retrofit its buildings in a way that ensures citizens are protected – and uphold the EU’s goals for energy efficiency, energy independence and climate neutrality in a socially just manner.

The need for new, locally oriented technologies could benefit startups

While air conditioning is currently the dominant cooling strategy in commercial and residential buildings, But it does have two significant drawbacks.

First, it contributes to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The latter, in particular, has a global warming potential thousands or tens of thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide. Not only does it pose a challenge to achieving the EU’s goal of reducing dependence on foreign fossil fuels, but it also means that such cooling systems may not be affordable for low-income countries.

Therefore, the EEA proposes to implement sustainable technologies that take into account local conditions, including climatic conditions, building types, urban density, population data and grid quality.

The most effective techniques for avoiding high energy demands include those that can reduce the cooling load by implementing passive cooling methods. Think better thermal insulation, optimal shading for glass facades, radiative cooling and passive shading in the form of green roofs and walls.

Moesgaard Museum, Denmark green roof. Image credit: Jacob Due/Moesgaard Museum Triple Solar PVT heat pump panel

When active cooling is required, the agency recommends a powered solution via available Renewable energy, like a photovoltaic system.

Not all of these options are currently readily available, according to the EEA, which is active in

With the European refrigeration market expected to grow by 24% by 2030 , businesses that can develop technologies to meet this growing demand while providing environmentally friendly solutions are in the enviable position of

start-ups already operating in the industry

Among startups developing cooling systems while mitigating climate change, Netherlands-based Triple Solar definitely deserves a mention.

The company invented PVT heat pump panels using photovoltaic technology. Its front side consists of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity, while the back side is a heat exchanger that provides the source energy for a special PVT heat pump.

PVT panels extract energy from solar panels air and sunlight. That means it can provide heat, cooling and electricity without using fossil fuels.

Triple Solar PVT heat pump panelPVT heat pump panel. Image credit: Triple Solar Triple Solar PVT heat pump panel

Dynamic Air Cooling (DAC) in Poland is another promising example.

The start-up company has developed a new air conditioning and refrigeration technology that does not use synthetic HFC coolants and has no heat or CO2 emissions. Even better, it’s designed for both residential and commercial applications.

This technology converts warm air into cold air by using gas-powered and thermodynamic processes.

The company claims it can reduce temperatures down to 60 degrees Celsius while being up to 50% cheaper than conventional A/C or refrigeration technologies.

DAC cooling and refrigeration systems. Image credit: DAC Triple Solar PVT heat pump panel

This is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Not only is there a large number of European startups already operating in this space, but the market is expanding and new entrants have a huge potential customer base.

With demand for cooling increasing and the European Union under pressure to meet its climate goals, the future looks bright for certain sustainability startups.



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