Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

Taking Care of the Air

Air conditioners are not typically known as eco-friendly appliances, thanks to the use of refrigerants like Freon (also known as R-22), which has been shown to deplete the ozone. However, Freon is being phased out (as of 2010 it cannot be used in any new equipment), and a new generation of eco-friendly air conditioners is on the way.

Haier, for instance, recently introduced its Paragon Eco-Conditioner, an environmentally friendly air conditioner that both cools a room and cleans the air without emitting harmful ozone byproducts. The Paragon contains an advanced coolant that won’t deplete the ozone, and uses ultraviolet light to remove allergens, pollutants and odors from the air that passes through the unit and into the home.

In addition, the Energy Star-rated, 6,000-BTU Paragon has an EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio, of 12, the highest of any room air conditioner on the market today, according to the manufacturer. EER measures how much cooling an air conditioner provides for the energy it uses, and is an indication of its energy efficiency. The higher a unit’s EER, the better.

Other features include a four-speed fan with an ultra-quiet setting, and an electronic LCD display with a full-function remote control. List price is about $340. For more information: