Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bio-inspired design may lead to more energy efficient windows

Date:
August 2, 2013
Source:
University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Summary:
Scientists are turning to nature to find a way to make windows more energy efficient. In a recent article, researchers describe a novel process to cut down on heat loss during the winter and keep buildings cool during the summer. Their "bio-inspired approach to thermal control for cooling (or heating) building window surfaces" calls for attaching optically clear, flexible elastomer sheets, bonded to regular glass window panes.

A. Schematic of the composite window structure. B. The artificial vascular network layer.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

University of Toronto Engineering professor Ben Hatton (MSE) is turning to nature to find a way to make windows more energy efficient.

In a recent article in Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, Hatton and colleagues at Harvard University describe a novel process to cut down on heat loss during the winter and keep buildings cool during the summer. Their "bio-inspired approach to thermal control for cooling (or heating) building window surfaces" calls for attaching optically clear, flexible elastomer sheets, bonded to regular glass window panes.

The elastomer sheets, made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) have channels running through them through which room temperature water flows. The technique has resulted in 7 to 9 degrees of cooling in laboratory experiments and is effective both at small and large scales, Hatton and his colleagues said.

"Our results show that an artificial vascular network within a transparent layer, composed of channels on the micrometer to millimeter scale, and extending over the surface of a window, offers an additional and novel cooling mechanism for building windows and a new thermal control tool for building design," he said.

Hatton noted that windows account for about 40 per cent of building energy costs. To find a solution to the problem, he turned to nature. "In contrast to man-made thermal control systems, living organisms have evolved an entirely different and highly efficient mechanism to control temperature that is based on the design of internal vascular networks. For example, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow close to the skin surface to increase convective heat transfer, whereas they constrict and limit flow when our skin is exposed to cold."

He said the technique could also be applied to solar panels, increasing their efficiency. He also noted that as the water flows through the panels, it gets hotter, and this hot water could be used to supply heated water to an existing hot water system or to a heat storage system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Benjamin D. Hatton, Ian Wheeldon, Matthew J. Hancock, Mathias Kolle, Joanna Aizenberg, Donald E. Ingber. An artificial vasculature for adaptive thermal control of windows. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2013; 117: 429 DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2013.06.027

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. "Bio-inspired design may lead to more energy efficient windows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802132207.htm>.
University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. (2013, August 2). Bio-inspired design may lead to more energy efficient windows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802132207.htm
University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. "Bio-inspired design may lead to more energy efficient windows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802132207.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) Google has filed for a patent to develop contact lenses capable of taking photos. The company describes possible benefits to blind people. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Formerly courted by Facebook, Titan Aerospace will become a part of Google's quest to blanket the world in Internet connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins