Rather than expensive, unwieldy and energy-consuming air con, one ingenious recycling project enables you to cool your apartment for free, using zero electricity, with nothing more than some old plastic bottles and a sheet of cardboard.
The idea all started in Bangladesh, where 70% of the population lives in tin-roofed huts with no electricity and where temperatures can hit a stifling 45°C in the summer. The Eco Cooler design—developed to create an eco-friendly AC system accessible to all—uses old plastic bottles on a cardboard backing affixed to a window, and has already been used in 25,000 homes in Bangladesh to great effect, reducing indoor temperatures by up to 9°C.
So how does it work? Hot air from the outside is forced through the wide end of the bottle and, as it is funnelled through the narrower bottleneck, it is cooled and pushed inside—creating a literal breath of fresh air. The same phenomenon can be observed with your breath: breathe out with mouth wide open and the air is hot; purse your lips as you blow out air and it is cool. Clever, right?
What’s more, the system is simple to make and can be easily recreated in any home, anywhere in the world in need of cooling. If you fancy trying your hand at it, all you need is water bottles, cardboard and a Stanley knife/scissors, and then just follow these easy instructions:
Cut the water bottles in half and carefully cut the top of the lids off.
Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of your window adding on a 2cm overlap to make sure there is no gap.
In a grid pattern, cut regularly spaced holes in the board matching the size of the neck of each plastic bottle (the space between each hole will be dependent on the body size of each bottle).
Insert each bottle through the holes in the board and secure by screwing the lid back on.
Affix the board to the window, with the bottlenecks pointing to the inside of the room.
Top tip: To create something eco-friendly, cheap and pretty to boot, why not use coloured card to match your décor—or cover it in coloured paper—and paint the outside of the bottles in a matching shade?
And that’s it! You’re ready for the summer heat wave! What do you think—will you be trying your hand at this DIY air con system for your home? Tell us in the comments below.