2010 Sustainability Champion Awards: Coolerado Corp.
Coolerado can rightly tout that it's cool to be green. The Denver-based company manufactures and sells air conditioners that use one fifth or less of the energy required by the most efficient conventional systems.
"If we can get a large percentage of the population to move to this air conditioner, we can save a substantial amount of coal or whatever the source of power generation is," said Rick Gillan, whose brothers Lee and Rick also work for the Denver company. "Essentially you can cool a building for the amount of power that you would normally use to just run fans."
Coolerado is one of six companies, organizations and individuals named a 2010 Sustainability Champion. The awards are a program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Environmental Partnership partnered, Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE), and ColoradoBiz. The program is sponsored by PAETEC, a New York-based telecom company that delivers data and voice services in 84 metro markets including Denver.
Here's how the company measured up according several metrics considered by the judges:
Environment: Laboratory testing by the U.S. Department of Energy indicated that the company's new system, the Coolerado H80, beat the 2010 standards by 60 percent at peak demand and will use 80 percent less energy overall when compared to traditional cooling systems. The company is the first certified winner of the U.C. Davis Western Cooling Challenge -- a challenge to exceed 2010 DOE energy standards by 40 percent.
Economy: In 2009, Coolerado added 33 jobs, growing from 14 employees to 47. The company increased the number of units sold by 350 percent from 2008 to 2009. Its customers included Azatlan Recreation Center, Montbello Library and the Denver Fire Station.
Society: Coolerado hosted the "Green Buildings, Green Jobs" energy event at the Denver Library last summer.
Innovation: Using technology patented Chief Scientist Varleriy Maisotsenko, Coolerado's air conditioners deliver fresh, clean air at or below wet bulb temperature, thought to be impossible by many scientists, the company says. (Wet bulb temperature is the lowest temperature an object can be cooled by evaporation.)
Education: Through presentations, such as video tutorials, Coolerado is showing how technology can help solve energy problems.
Unlike conventional air-conditioning systems, Coolerado's products invite fresh air into the building - a notable change in an era of commercial buildings that feature windows that cannot be opened.
"With a traditional air-conditioning system you seal yourself up. With our system, we're very good at cooling down air and blowing in 100 percent fresh air," Gillan said.