Water-based AC cools the air without using harmful chemicals

January 19, 2018 by  
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Our air conditioners still draw on principles that are around 100-years-old, sucking up power in the process. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are working on an alternative: water -based air conditioners. Their system doesn’t need energy -intensive compressors or harmful chemical refrigerants – and can cool air all the way down to 18 degrees Celsius, or 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Over 40 percent of the energy consumption of a building in the tropics goes to air conditioning, according to NUS associate professor Ernest Chua . He led a team to develop a new air conditioning system offering several advantages over conventional machines commonly found in buildings today. Related: This amazing Bangladeshi air cooler is made from plastic bottles and uses no electricity Water serves as the coolant in their air conditioner, and an innovative membrane technology sucks moisture out of humid air. The system uses up around 40 percent less electricity than compressor-based air conditioners, which NUS said translates to an over 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions . And the system doesn’t release hot air, instead discharging a less-humid cold air stream. For every liter of water used, as much as 15 liters of drinking water can be harvested, according to NUS – and the water the system harvests from the air is five times purer than Singapore tap water. Chua said in a statement, “Our cooling technology can be easily tailored for all types of weather conditions, from humid climate in the tropics to arid climate in the deserts. While it can be used for indoor living and commercial spaces, it can also be easily scaled up to provide air-conditioning for clusters of buildings in an energy-efficient manner.” NUS said it’s cost-effective to produce the system. Right now the team is further developing the design to boost user-friendliness, and aim to incorporate smart features like real-time tracking of energy efficiency or “pre-programmed thermal settings based on human occupancy.” They’re hoping to collaborate with industry partners on commercialization. Via National University of Singapore and Futurity Images via National University of Singapore and NUSLife on YouTube

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Water-based AC cools the air without using harmful chemicals

Elegant LEED Gold winery mimics Napa Valleys curves

January 19, 2018 by  
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Cargotecture has found an unlikely home at a winery in Napa Valley. Local firm Signum Architecture completed Odette Estate Winery, a LEED Gold-certified round building powered by solar and fitted with three shipping containers repurposed as offices. Designed to reflect the elegance and femininity of the wines produced there, the winery sports a curved form that evokes a swan’s wing—a nod to the Tchaikovsky ballet character Odette of Swan Lake. Selected as an Industrial Building Category winner in the American Architecture Prize 2017, the Odette Estate Winery was recognized for its elegant and sustainable design. The building’s adherence to LEED Gold standards is a visual continuation of the owner’s commitment to sustainable farming and wine production. Solar panels provide renewable energy while conscientious use of building materials lower the winery’s carbon footprint. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Nestled between the valley’s eastern hills, the Odette Estate Winery is topped with an undulating living roof that replicates the hilly topography. Sliding perforated aluminum screens cut into curving organic shapes shield the winery’s covered crush pad and open-air workspace. The mesh panels allow natural ventilation and light to pass through and, when backlit at night, give the building the appearance of a glowing lantern. The repurposed shipping containers at the front of the building are used for a state-of-the-art wine laboratory and office space. The fermentation and barrel room take up the majority of the building footprint. + Signum Architecture Photo credit: Adrian Gregorutti

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Elegant LEED Gold winery mimics Napa Valleys curves

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