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sun frost "sleep genie"
10 mar 2002
  in a hot humid climate, keeping comfortable by passive strategies is often
  difficult and sometimes impossible... high ceilings and large operable
  windows to increase ventilation can make conventional air-conditioning
  more difficult because of increased heat gains. 

  sun frost has developed an air conditioner to provide comfortable sleeping
  conditions even in an airy uninsulated building. the strategy is to create
  a relatively small, insulated space around the bed. this space can then be
  air-conditioned and dehumidified with a very small air conditioner... the
  air-conditioner and enclosure is shown in the accompanying figure. here
  the structure is installed over a small single bed. because cold air is
  heavier than hot air [and humid air is lighter than dry air], the space
  above the occupant's head can be left open. 

  the compressors for the cooling system can be run off either a 12-volt
  or a 24-volt battery bank. a 120-volt model will be available soon. the
  typical load in a 12-volt system will be about 6 amps or 72 watts [ie 737
  btu/h, with a cop of 3, vs about 250 btu/h for a sleeping person.] with
  8 hours of sleep, the nightly electrical load at 12 volts will be about
  72 amp-hours or 600 watt-hours. to power this air conditioner with
  photovoltaic panels, a 280-watt array would typically be required. 

  in addition to homes, this concept could find wide application in long-haul
  trucks with sleeper compartments. currently, drivers idle their trucks all
  night to keep cool in hot weather. this burns up about one gallon of diesel
  fuel per hour and causes a great deal of noise and air pollution. idling
  trucks all night is becoming illegal in many states for these reasons. with
  sun frost's "sleep genie," idling would not be necessary because the air-
  conditioner could be run off the truck's starting batteries. 

  in some tropical countries like singapore, many of the buildings are
  concrete and use no passive strategies for cooling. as a result of poor
  design, heat from the sun-baked walls will begin to penetrate into an
  apartment several hours after sunset, creating uncomfortable conditions
  just as occupants are preparing for bed. in singapore, air-conditioners
  are often only used at night to make a bedroom more comfortable. instead
  of cooling a high thermal mass, uninsulated space, a task air-conditioner
  like the "sleep genie" would be a much more energy-efficient solution. of
  course, it would make the most sense to combine strategies, incorporate
  the "sleep genie," insulate the building and put windows in the most
  appropriate locations with effective shading devides and then use the
  "sleep genie" when necessary. 

  for more information, contact sun frost, po box 1101, arcata, california 
  95518, (707) 822-9095, web site:

                         from solar today, mar/apr 2002, pp 47-48.

a passive variation might use a waterbed in a cool-cell-type enclosure,
with a low thermal resistance between the sleepers and the mattress and
some sort of roof/canopy that could be flooded at night. would people
in phoenix need ac at night? 

colonial cooling caskets had insulation below, then the body, with the
shoulders and head exposed through an opening, with a large copper tray
above most of the lower part of the body, and a black cover over that,
and a door to add ice... 


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