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Buildings

Designing buildings to conserve energy and resources


Smart Windows

Written by , on September 2, 2013

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new material that could lead to smart windows where people could control the amount of light and heat that gets through. The material is a thin coating of nanocrystals embedded in the glass that can dynamically modify sunlight as it passes […]  Read more »

New Sensors Could Greatly Improve Building Energy Efficiency

Written by , on July 15, 2013

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say that a single advanced building control, now in development, could slash 18% – and tens of thousands of dollars – off the overall annual energy bill of the average large office building, with no loss of comfort. The conclusion is based on extensive […]  Read more »

Cooling by Sending Heat into Space

Written by , on April 21, 2013

Researchers, led by Professor Shanhui Fan, at Stanford University are developing rooftop panels that cool buildings by sending heat into space. The panel’s materials are engineered to emit thermal radiation in a very specific wavelength that is not absorbed by the atmosphere and, so, passes through it into space. The researchers estimate that, in theory, […]  Read more »

Efficient Lights in Any Shape

Written by , on December 9, 2012

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have reported that they have developed a  plastic material that glows when an electric current runs through it. The material, which can be formed in any shape, gives off a soft, white light, similar to sunkight, and is just as energy efficient as LEDs. The researchers made […]  Read more »

Solar Panel Balcony Railings

Written by , on September 27, 2012

Sharp has announced that it is launching semi-transparent solar panels designed for balcony railings in apartment blocks. The semi-transparent black solar panels are 1.4 metres wide by 1 metre tall and just 7.6 millimetres thick. They have an efficiency of about 6.8% with a maximum output of 95 watts. While this conversion rate is relatively […]  Read more »

Energy Efficiency at Google’s Data Centres

Written by , on July 11, 2012

Google says that its data centres use half the energy of a typical data centre. This is achieved through simple energy saving methods including siting of the data centre, efficient temperature management and reductions in residual energy loss.  Read more »

Building Cladding Controls Heat & Purifies Water

Written by , on June 22, 2012

The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology in New York has come up with a building exterior that not only helps the interior comfortable but purifies water. The exterior surface of the building is clad in modular glass blocks which are configured to capture, refocus and intensify sunlight. Greywater from sinks, showers and hand washing […]  Read more »

Street Furniture for the 21st Century

Written by , on May 23, 2012

A New York design company, Pensa LLC., has come up with the idea of adding charging points for mobile phones to street furniture, such as bus shelters and signs. The charging points would be pwered by solar PV panels on the roof of the bus shelter or on brackets attached to signposts. The solar PV […]  Read more »

White Roofs Shown to Reduce Temperatures

Written by , on March 10, 2012

A study lead by Columbia University scientist, Stuart Gaffin, with the assistance of NASA, has found that white roof coating reduced peak rooftop temperatures New York in summer by an average of 23.6 C°. The study looked at how different white roofing materials performed “in the field” over multiple years. The study tested three different […]  Read more »

A Better Thermostat from the iPhone Designer

Written by , on January 13, 2012

Tony Fadell, who led the team which designed the first eighteen generations of  the iPod and the first three iPhones, has come up with the Nest thermostat for air conditioning systems. As you might expect, it looks a lot better and is much easier to use than current thermostats – and it also has some […]  Read more »