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Think about your AC unit. If you aren’t blessed with central air, it’s probably clunky, a questionable shade of dust-caked off-white, and a pain to install—which up until now has been perfectly acceptable, as it’s one of those instances where necessity overrides efficiency. Well, no longer: There’s a new generation of cooling systems bridging the gap between function and style, just in time for scorching summer temperatures. 

Launched at the end of April, July was born from a personal gripe: “As New Yorkers, we were all too familiar with the window air conditioner—and definitely not fans of the products on the market,” says Muhammad Saigol, cofounder of the company along with Erik Rauterkus, who happened to be moving as they were dreaming up their invention and spent the time terrified of accidentally dropping a unit onto someone’s head during installation. For Mike Mayer, it was the discovery that the first “modern” window AC hit the market in 1931…and had barely changed since; he cofounded just-launched Windmill with his brother, Danny, and friend Ryan Figlia as a result. 

Courtesy of Windmill

The units are eye candy for your window—sleek, minimalist, and even digitally savvy; Windmill’s LED display fades after 60 seconds to lessen blue-light exposure. Plus they’re actually easy to install. July’s version neatly slides into a lightweight frame, clicking into place, while Windmill’s requires almost zero preassembly (the front is magnetic, so you can snap it on and off on cleaning day). “When you walk into your home, we don’t necessarily want you to notice the AC unit in your window,” points out Mayer. “It should blend into your decor. And when you do notice it, it should feel intentional and beautiful.”

These founders have done their homework: Mayer tapped a network of experts with more than 60 years of air-con knowledge, while Rauterkus and Saigol literally became AC installers for one summer in NYC. “It was such an eye-opening experience to see how everyone had a unique home—and yet they were all buying the exact same fixture they were not happy with,” says Rauterkus. 

Courtesy of July

One of the biggest pain points most people have with their cooling systems—the energy bill—is also covered. Both refrigerants create two-thirds fewer emissions and suck up 10 percent less energy than most pieces on the market; plus, you can shut off your box remotely from an app. “You won’t have that oh sh*t moment when you’re on the go and realize you forgot to turn off your AC!” explains Mayer. “Little changes can have a big impact.” Both companies have also pledged to offset carbon emissions through donations to reforestry and renewable energy organizations (July) and working with verified forest carbon projects like Pachama (Windmill). We love a household appliance with an eco-conscious streak. 

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