Editorial Feature

Next-Generation Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps for a More Sustainable Future

As planet Earth is warming and populations are rising, our demands for air conditioning systems are increasing. To make matters worse, these systems have contributed to global greenhouse gases significantly. Start-up Treau seeks to break this negative cycle by offering sustainable air conditioning and heating systems. In this article, we explore these next-generation systems and other sustainable innovations that are being developed.

air conditioner, sustainable

Image Credit: Suti Stock Photo/Shutterstock.com

Air conditioning is a great contributor to carbon emissions. Conventional cooling devices account for up to 10% of global gas emissions, double that of aviation and maritime, according to the World Bank. Without alternatives, these emissions could double this decade.

Meanwhile, the demand for these technologies is growing. The increasing population and advancement of technologies boosted demand in recent years. Nearly 15% of global energy demands comprises air conditioning systems.

Climate change is expected to worsen in the near future and some of the knock-on effects will include harsher warmer weather. Numerous studies have shown that the weather is becoming more volatile, with more extreme temperatures and stronger heatwaves predicted in the future.

With harsher, warmer weather on the horizon, sufficient air conditioning will be needed.

The growing demand for air conditioning will put pressure on power grids, risking potential blackouts, and electricity needs will soar, rising global energy demands.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Future of Cooling report, the total number of installed air conditioning units could reach as high as 6 billion. We will need sufficient air conditioning to stay comfortable amid extreme weather fluctuations.

Elegant, Sustainable Air Conditioning Solutions

Typically, air conditioning units have been noisy, bulky, and energy-intensive, having advanced little over the years. Considering this and environmental concerns inspired the launch of start-up Treau who offers sustainable air conditioning technology affordably, without compromising on quality, efficiency, and aesthetics.

Founded by Vince Romanin and Adrien Benusiglio, Treau seeks to improve lives without negatively impacting the environment, by producing sustainable air conditioner and heating pump technology. As a result, homes and indoor environments become more comfortable, retaining efficiency while also being less harmful to the environment. The systems are quiet, aesthetic, and comfortable to have in the home.

Treau’s key product is a breakthrough heat exchanger technology that is 50% more efficient and expels 75% fewer carbon emissions than other conventional systems. This hybrid cooling and heating system is called Gradient. It is easy to install compared to typical heat pumps that require professional, costly installations. It fits below windows without blocking views and natural daylight.

To create a better environment for the world of tomorrow, the company eliminated harsh refrigerants in its technologies. It uses a climate-friendly refrigerant called R32 that has a lower environmental impact while managing heat efficiently. Gradient’s system is also attractive to look at, not compromising on quality. This is an advancement over conventional systems that are harmful to the environment while being bulky and loud.

Treau: New class of air conditioner and heat pump

Video Credit: E14 Fund/YouTube.com

Cooling Down with Ice

Desiccant cooling technology has also been proposed to the scientific community, where no refrigerant is involved. An article published at In Tech Open explains that desiccant cooling technology avoids using refrigerants in the systems and is environmentally friendly. As an added bonus, these systems are relatively cost-effective.

The Hot and Cold Side of Geothermal

It may sound counter-intuitive, but heat pumps can regulate cooling as well. Houses using geothermal systems utilize water several feet below the ground since it stays the same temperature throughout the year.

Heat pumps, containing water or a refrigerant, are used to cool the house in the heat of summer but warm it during winter. When the temperature drops outside, the fluid absorbs the Earth’s underground heat, bringing it up to warm the air inside the building. When it is hot outside, such as during the summer, the system works the other way around, cooling the indoor space.

This technology has been developed at the University of Minnesota by the start-up Darcy Solutions who focus on tapping into aquifer systems, several feet below ground instead of requiring extensive boreholes deep underground.

References and Further Reading

Air conditioning technology is the great missed opportunity in the fight against climate change [Online] Technology Review. Available at:

Renewable and Sustainable Air Conditioning [Online] In Tech Open. Available at: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/58750

Gradient comfort – about us [Online] Available at: https://www.gradientcomfort.com/pages/about-us

10 green heating and cooling technologies [Online] How Stuff Works. Available at: https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/green/10-green-heating-and-cooling-technologies.htm

In Minnesota, a geothermal innovation revives interest in systems’ potential [Online] Energy News Network. Available at: https://energynews.us/2020/06/22/in-minnesota-a-geothermal-innovation-revives-interest-in-systems-potentia

Four things you should know about sustainable cooling [Online] World Bank. Available at:


Treau [Online]. Urban X. Available at: https://www.urban-x.com/company/treau

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Clarissa Wright

Written by

Clarissa Wright

Clarissa is a freelance writer specializing in science communication, contributing to a range of online media. Due to her lifelong interest in the natural world, she studied a BSc in Geology & Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen, and a Master’s degree in Applied & Petroleum Micropalaeontology at the University of Birmingham.


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