Interview with Gabriele Renner, pervormance i...
Interview with Gabriele Renner, pervormance international

Can cooling textiles replace air conditioning?

Gabriele Renner (Source: pervormance International)
Gabriele Renner (Source: pervormance International)

This year, Europe is experiencing a summer with above-average temperatures and hot spells. Too much heat causes problems, but air conditioners for cooling need a lot of energy.

With e.cooline, you offer sustainable alternatives to cooling. Can you explain these textile-based solutions to us?
We transform heat climate friendly into cooling for more performance, health and wellbeing. Therefore, we developed a 3D technology with smart fibers which absorb water molecules on the fibers instead of between them. That is why the water stays in the material and cannot be pressed out. Integrated in special functional layers, the material is dry outside and can be worn over your clothing without getting wet. 

Because of the big surface of water molecules in the 3D mesh material the water can evaporate perfectly to achieve the evaporative cooling energy of up to 660 W/l of water. The cooling effect has been confirmed by Hohenstein Laboratories, Bönnigheim/Germany. No additional external energy source is required, but only water and air which makes the cooling technology sustainable and climate friendly. 

Why is the right temperature, especially at work, so important?
The human body always tries to maintain the healthy internal body temperature of 37°C. This is a vital process for the body. That is why the body is increasing the blood flow to the skin and produces sweat on the skin. This thermoregulation needs a lot of energy, changes the blood flow, physiological processes and increases the heart rate. This leads to lower performance and concentration as well as to health problems from headaches, heat rash, heat cramps or at least to heat stroke. A lot of people suffer also from the heat in conjunction with their pre-existing condition. To save people from exhaustion, accidents, and health problems it is necessary to cool them down to a balanced and healthy temperature. Companies also benefit because their employees can be more productive when supported by cooling. 

(Source: pervormance International)

What applications already exist with e.cooline? What other applications are conceivable?
Currently we offer cooling apparel from head to toe. Cooling vests and shirts as well as cooling headgear as basecaps, bandanas or helmet inserts are the main products. But also cooling trousers, arm coolers and much more are still used at work, for health reasons or at home and leisure time. Also, animals as dogs or horses can be cooled down. In the meantime, we also entered the home textile market with cooling blankets and curtains to cool rooms in summertime. Now we still discuss cooling possibilities for buildings, electric cars and much more.

Can you also tell us something about savings compared to conventional cooling technologies?
In 2019 the energy consumption of air conditioning has been 8.5% of the electrical energy worldwide. With our textiles it is possible to save 100% cooling energy compared to air conditioning systems, ventilators and more. Furthermore, harmful refrigerants can be saved which are usually used in most of these systems. Only water and air are needed which are natural refrigerants with a high effectiveness. The emissions of air conditioning systems reach over 1 billion tons CO2/year with a high forecasted increase the next years. The use of cooling textiles is climate-neutral because no external energy source is needed. Even if we would not produce the products in a climate-friendly way, the savings would be over 90-97% CO2 as climate partner has analyzed - depending which system you compare.    

You state that since 2013 you have been producing in a climate-neutral way, making your company one of the first climate-neutral textile companies in the world. Is your production completely climate-neutral without any compensation?
We still use natural energy sources, produce in Germany and Europe to save flights, and assure good working and environment conditions. In addition, we also use waste fibers in the production, and we are able to recycle our products. Accordingly, the production is as sustainable as possible. But we do not only count the emissions in the production but from Scope 1-3. The emissions are counted over the whole life cycle. The rest of the CO2 emissions which cannot be avoided, are overcompensated with social projects as the forest protection in Para in Brazil with international VCS standard. As we cannot only save our planet in Germany but must also help to reduce emissions on a global basis, we think this is a good way. The biggest leverage to save CO2 we see in using our products instead of air conditioning systems.

What are your guiding principles for the future?
The protection of the environment but also the protection from heat stress are big issues of our future. We still try to get better in both sectors and improve the processes, materials and products to work as sustainable as possible and help people all over the world to reduce heat stress to improve their health and wellbeing in a climate friendly way. 

The interview was conducted by Mechthild Maas, editor of TextileTechnology, with Gabriele Renner, Managing Director of pervormance international GmbH, Ulm/Germany.

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