PHOTOS: Seven Gadgets to Save the Planet -- And Lives

PHOTOS: Seven Gadgets to Save the Planet -- And Lives
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First Prize: Sustainable Technology
Air Conditioner Fights Global Warming


Though it may not seem like the most glamorously green invention, this redesign of the common air conditioner could save a quadrillion BTUs a year in the United States alone.

Replacing the conditioner's piston compressor and expansion valve with scroll compressors--more commonly used in automobile superchargers--and updating the power supply yielded power savings of 30 percent, wrote Create the Future contest winner Lindsay Meek of Australia.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that two-thirds of U.S. homes have air conditioners, producing a hundred million tons of carbon dioxide annually and consuming 5 percent of the energy produced in the United States -- which costs consumers more than $11 billion.

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—Inset diagram courtesy NASA Tech Briefs; photograph by Craig Ruttle/Associated Press
 
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