Air Conditioning Types
Air conditioners provide a space conditioning (cooling only or heating and cooling) service to improve the thermal comfort of an indoor space (such as a room, entire home or larger complex).
Air conditioners are also used in commercial and industrial buildings such as offices, shopping centres and manufacturing premises.
Residential air conditioners (also referred to as heat pumps particularly in New Zealand), were first required to carry an energy label in 1987 and have been subject to Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) since 2004.
Larger three phase air conditioners (that are normally used in non-residential situations) have been regulated for MEPS since 2001 and have a voluntary labelling scheme.
Types of Air Conditioners
There are two main types of air conditioning products on the market; refrigerated products (using the vapour compression cycle) and evaporative products. Refrigerated products have been the main focus of the E3 Program (and are the focus of this page), however some research has been undertaken on evaporative products and they may be considered in the future.
Refrigerated air conditioners can supply a cooling only service, and reverse cycle products are capable of heating as well as cooling. The main types of products are as follows:
Split system (non-ducted): The most common type of household air conditioners. These products have an outdoor unit that houses the compressor and condenser, and an indoor unit that is commonly mounted on a wall. They can range in size to suit a small bedroom, to much larger products that could suit large open plan living areas.
Window/wall units: These products contain all parts in a single unit (rather than having a separate outdoor and indoor unit). They are installed either through windows or can be mounted into walls (where the back of the unit will be outdoors). They are typically less efficient, but cheaper to purchase and install than split systems and are suitable for cooling or heating single rooms.
Ducted systems: Ducted products can provide heating and cooling for an entire home, delivering warm/cool air via ducts positioned in various rooms. These systems can be zoned so that only certain areas are being conditioned (for instance only living areas during the day). They are available in single phase and three phase power and energy labelling is voluntary for these products.
Multi-split systems: Multi-splits consist of multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. These can allow for different temperatures in different rooms.
Portable products: Like window/wall units, portable air conditioners are unitary systems. However, they are contained entirely within the space to be conditioned (i.e. a room) and air is drawn from indoors, cooled and then expelled outside via a single duct.
These products are not currently regulated – for more information see Portable air conditioners.