Bolton is the first university in the UK to install the system, which, it is claimed, uses a fraction of the power consumed by traditional air coolers, cutting carbon emissions and saving electricity.
The direct evaporative air conditioner will cool C-block, home to the university’s computer-learning and lecturing rooms, computing laboratories and central computing facilities. The rooms account for 46 per cent of the total electricity usage at the site.
The university will be closely monitoring the cooler over the next year to evaluate its environmental and energy-saving impact. Manufacturers say the system, called Breezier, uses 85-90 per cent less energy than conventional air conditioners and so carbon emissions are cut by a similar proportion.
Each Breezair cooler contains large cooling pads, which are kept wet during the operating cycle. Hot ambient air is drawn into a Breezair cooler by a fan. The air passes through the water-soaked pads and the water absorbs some of the heat by a natural evaporative process, resulting in a cool, refreshing breeze.
The installation of the air conditioner forms part of the university’s work in the Energy Conservation in Computing Intensive Learning Environments (ECCILES) Project, one of three national green IT projects funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).