The US Energy Information Agency does a Residential Energy Consumption Survey a couple times each decade and in the 2015 data, they showed that the average energy use per household member per year is 30.3 million BTU, or 8,800 kilowatt-hours. They also found that the average US home uses 51% of that energy on heating and cooling. That’s 4,500 kWh per person! At 15 cents per kWh, that’s $675 per person.
If I told you there’s a way we could drop that number by 90%, you’d have good reason to be skeptical. From quacks trying to harness perpetual motion to those claiming their electric resistance heat can deliver more than 3,412 BTU per kWh, plenty of people have made bold claims that just weren’t true. But this new device I’m going to tell you about today is in a whole new category that jumps right over deception and delusion and goes straight to disruption.
Yes, I’m talking about the Maxwell Micro-Split personal heat pump. If you haven’t heard of it before today, I’m happy to be the one to share this exciting news with you. Once you get a Maxwell Micro-Split for each person in your home, you can say goodbye to central heating and cooling systems that are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. Why heat or cool your whole house when all your really need to do is keep a bubble of conditioned space around yourself!?
As you probably guessed from the photo, the Maxwell Micro-Split is a revolutionary technology with two components that transfer heat from the transmitter (the TX unit in the photo) to the receiver (RX unit). You simply keep one of the units on or near yourself and place the other outdoors. As with all heat pumps, the Maxwell Micro-Split sends heat from one unit to the other. In your home, a conventional or mini-split heat pump does this with a refrigerant that goes through phase changes, and the indoor and outdoor units are connected physically with refrigerant lines and electrical wires.
The Maxwell is the same but different. It always sends heat from the transmitter, which is why it’s called the MicroCool. It sends that heat to the receiver, which is appropriately called the MicroHeat. And there’s no global warming enhancing refrigerant to worry about. No wires. Simply two small units and a charger for each. It even works with your cell phone charger.
The technology is powered by proprietary solutions of Maxwell’s equations, the set of four equations that describe almost everything there is to know about electricity, magnetism, and light. The unit being used to heat or cool a person works by creating an electromagnetic field with a radius of 1.57 meters. At the 1.57 meter mark is a sharp boundary. (As someone who has seen those proprietary solutions, I can tell you this was one of the most difficult boundary value problems ever solved!) That boundary keeps all the heating or cooling within that 3.141592653589793… meter sphere. The outdoor unit will have no such boundary, to allow for efficient heat transfer between it and the outdoor conditions.
What could be simpler! Need heating? Wear the receiver and place the transmitter outdoors. Then open up the app on your smartphone and make sure it’s set for heating. That’s how you keep the finite boundary indoors and the infinite boundary outdoors. Need cooling? Switch the two units and change the setting in the app again. It’s just that simple!
Imagine always be surrounded by your own personal bubble of thermal comfort! No more worries about how the thermostat is set at the office or ASHRAE’s 314 criteria for thermal comfort. No more shivering when you go to the cinema. And runners are bound to love it! Go for a run in July when the temperature is 95° F and the relative humidity is 95% and enjoy your bubble of 50° F comfort! Even better, you can get two units and do simultaneous heating and cooling. If your feet are cold but your upper body is warm, you can change the diameter of the bubble and warm your legs while cooling your upper body.
There really are no drawbacks to the Maxwell Micro-Split. You may be thinking about previous so-called miracle inventions using electromagnetism that were to be worn on your body, like Dr. Horne’s Electro-Magnetic Belt (shown above). But the Maxwell Micro-Split is different. Trust me.
Happy April Fools’ Day!
Allison Bailes of Atlanta, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and founder of Energy Vanguard. He is also the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog and is writing a book. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.
Photo of belt case by Hengwin Case from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license. Image of Dr. Horne’s Electro-Magnetic Belt by Arrallyn! from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license.
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