By Ed Hallisy for SUST 210 Online
The City of St. Charles IL has partnered with Ice Energy to bring the Ice Bear Thermal Energy Storage Unit to the city, making St. Charles one of the first municipalities in the area to bring this clean energy technology to its people.
The Ice Bear Thermal Energy Storage Unit supplies relief for already-installed air conditioning systems in buildings. This unit acts as a battery. A very, very cold battery that also stores electrical energy in the form of ice. The machine has two modes: Ice Charging and Ice Cooling. During Ice Charging, up to 450 gallons of water are frozen to ice by its coils and saved up for the next day.
During Ice Cooling, the A/C’s compressor is provided the relief that it needs during these peak heat hours of the day (noon to 6pm). The hot air is pumped into the Ice Bear to melt the ice and the A/C compressor is turned off. The Ice Bear goes to work pumping the cold water into the ventilation system providing cool air even through the hottest of days.
Partnering with Ice Energy is not the only step the City of St. Charles is taking to become more sustainable. They also run a number of programs to reuse materials and preserve the land. One program they support is “Promoting Energy Savings Through Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs.” The City actually provides its citizens with coupons in order to encourage the purchasing of compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs because of the tremendous, energy-saving benefit these bulbs offer.
Should other cities be taking this step to promote energy saving options like St. Charles is? I believe the answer is yes. Not only are they preserving energy, but they are also giving the citizens what they want — in this case, cold air!
Each week during the Fall 2013 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future online class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.