You probably already know that natural gas is ideal for cooking food, heating water, heating buildings, fueling vehicles and for running large commercial and industrial equipment.
But did you know that it can also keep you cool during warm weather at a lower cost than electric alternatives?
History of Natural Gas Air Conditioning
Natural gas air conditioning isn't new. In the 1930s and '40s, most of the large tonnage cooling needs in the United States were met by natural gas technologies. As air conditioning became more prolific in the 1960s, electric systems took the lead because of lower capital costs, good efficiency and very low electric rates.
Throughout the 1970s, use of electric air conditioning increased while natural gas air conditioning declined, and by 1990, only five percent of all air conditioning in the United States was fueled by natural gas.
However, as energy became more scarce and costly during the 1980s, numerous manufacturers both here and in Asia accelerated the development of more efficient natural gas air conditioning. By 1991, nearly 30 percent of Japan's existing air conditioning needs and 65 percent of new installations were met by natural gas. More recently, China, India and South Korea have made natural gas cooling technologies a preferred choice for developing areas.
Its popularity continues to grow, with equipment available from well-known names and manufacturers new to the Southern California marketplace. Large commercial and industrial customers are now enjoying reduced electrical demand and significantly lower annual operating costs.
Natural Gas Air Conditioning and Cogeneration
Since many natural gas air conditioning technologies are “thermally driven,” they make an ideal choice for using the waste heat available from onsite electrical generation or cogeneration systems. Currently, they're being used in conjunction with solar hot water systems to provide air conditioning… courtesy of the sun!
New Generation of Natural Gas Air Conditioning
SoCalGas® proudly supports the many new developments in natural gas air conditioning systems. The new generation of natural gas air conditioning technology provides much higher levels of energy efficiency and reliability than older systems.