Kate and Ron Khosla started Huguenot Street Farm in New Paltz, NY in 1999. As small farmers, they learned the value of money the hard way, literally pulling it a few cents at a time from the ground. So when they looked into adding a walk-in cooler to the farm, the idea of spending $3,500 for a used walk-in cooler, or thousands more for a new one, wasn’t appealing. Additionally, they didn’t want to be reliant on a technician that would be expensive to hire and difficult to reach on short notice. They couldn’t find an affordable option on the market, so they created their own: their solution was the CoolBot.
Ron’s idea was to utilize an off-the-shelf air conditioner as the engine for a walk-in cooler refrigeration system. What Ron realized is that off-the-shelf air conditioners utilize proven and reliable technology, and are precision engineered to last at least 5 years.
Ron began the prototyping process by hardwiring a high amperage timer onto the air conditioner. While this method worked in some respects, he quickly realized it was clunky and unintuitive – it required ‘surgery’ to the air conditioner and didn’t account for the volume and temperature fluctuations in his walk-in cooler. Additionally, he continually had problems with the air conditioner’s fins freezing, as the system didn’t turn off the air conditioner when the fins became too cold.
After tinkering with the system for multiple seasons, Ron had a sudden inspiration – he needed a controller that worked with the air conditioner to dynamically regulate the temperature. Ron reached out to his college roommate Timothy, an Engineer from Cornell University, for help building a unit designed to do just that. They worked together and built the first generation of the CoolBot.
Today’s CoolBot now utilizes a micro-controller brain with multiple sensors attached to it and can work efficiently with many brands of air conditioners. From its roots at the Huguenot Street Farm, we have sold over 30,000 CoolBots since 2006 to all corners of the world, changing the way people cool their produce, food, drinks and more!
“A few weeks ago, an energy auditor from the Bonneville Power Administration visited our Co-op. He was seriously excited to find we had a Klimaire with a Coolbot for our walk-in. Apparently he had heard of Coolbot, but had been skeptical. Our “never above minimum rate” power bills on that meter impressed the heck out of him!”
“The quote we got for a cooler this size with used wall panels and a new compressor was $12,000, not including delivery or installation. This unit cost us under $3,000, including the air conditioner, $600, and CoolBot. We did get a deal on recycled foam off craigslist which save us some money.”
– Eric & Heather W.
“My CoolBot walk in fridge has been running for about a month now and it is awesome! The room is a little under 4′ by 12′. I bought a 10k BTU GE air conditioner that brings the temp down to 37 degrees with no problem. As someone who likes to do things myself, I appreciate innovations that allow me to accomplish a project and produce a quality result.”
– Bill, OR