Tons of carbon are put into our air each year because of air conditioning. And, all of this is just to make vehicles comfortable in hot weather. How about air-conditioned seating instead of typical air conditioning? Coming across this article might have given you a blank stare, however, it turns out several vehicle makers now offer air-conditioned seats, frequently as a package piece. By confining the cooled air directly to where a person sits, air-conditioned seats utilize energy better than air conditioners that cool the entire vehicle’s interior.
How do air-conditioned seats work? Do the seats use a central vehicle air conditioning system? How does the air escape the seat to cool the individual in it? Thanks to the Service Team at this Island City, OR Chrysler dealer that sat down with us to chat, we’ll answer those great questions and others below. Air conditioning is a need for the Oregon summers, and it costs money, but hopefully, air conditioned seats will be in all sorts of vehicles soon!
The air-conditioned seating model was created by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) staff. This is how it works: The seat’s fabric is a porous mesh. Fans inside the seat create air circulation that blows through a diffusion layer to get a cooling effect throughout your seat and outward through its mesh, cooling the surface. Your car’s seat blocks your body’s built-in cooling unit. A seat pressed against your back prevents the water vapor from escaping, causing it to make sticky sweat. But an air-conditioned seat’s porous covering lets your body’s natural cooling system do its job, and it eliminates the body heat. Interesting, right?
Some air-conditioned car seating also has a cooling feature. Like many air conditioning units, they have a compression, condensation, and expansion cycle. Air conditioning works on this foundation: When a gas (in this case a ‘refrigerant’) is compressed, it gets warm but cools upon expansion.
In air conditioning, gas runs through a compressor. Then it travels through a condenser where it cools into a liquid, eliminating its heat in the process. The heat is released outside of the car’s cabin. Finally, the cooled liquid goes through an expansion valve, where it converts back into a gas saving. That occurs in a closed loop composed of coiled tubes, so that it may be done over and over. Air is forced past the part of the loop that has the cold gas and is made cold. Air conditioning uses up plenty of fuel because you need a constant energy input to compress the gas.
Air-conditioned seating that uses refrigerated air either has a small cooling element based on this principle or uses air pumped from the vehicle air conditioning system’s main cooling element. Due to how the space being cooled is limited to a single seat, little energy is required compared with normal car air conditioning. In units without unrefrigerated air, the process requires less energy than what a light bulb requires.