A new do-it-yourself air-conditioning system relying on plastic bottles and wind is being used in Bangladesh and Pakistan to help cool homes.
The system, called Eco-Cooler, consists of cutting plastic bottles in half and mounting them on a board. The board is then placed on a window with the wider part of the bottles facing out. Hot air rushes into each bottle where it expands, thereby cooling the air before it enters the room.
The cooler’s efficiency varies based on conditions however, inventors claim it has the ability to reduce indoor temperatures by as much as by 5 degrees Celsius. Grey Group, an advertising consultancy, has already installed 25,000 Eco-Coolers across Bangladesh.
The International Energy Agency predicts that growing incomes in emerging markets could see the energy footprint of air-conditioning triple by 2050, potentially reducing gains made from uptake of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency. However, it will likely remain the case that the world’s poorest people who disproportionately live in hot countries will continue to lack access to air-conditioning.
As temperatures rise, could this provide an affordable, green way for people with low income to cool their homes? Will it become commonplace to see this kind of innovative thinking as people adapt to a warming world? How might this example of using waste to create value inspire similar initiatives?