New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

February 13, 2017 by  
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Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a thin, artificially structured “metamaterial” that can cool objects without the use of water or energy. The film works to lower the temperature of the surface beneath it through a process known as “passive cooling,” meaning that it vents the object’s heat through thermal radiation while bouncing off any incoming solar energy that may negate those losses. As described last week in the journal Science , the glass-polymer hybrid material could provide an “eco-friendly means of supplementary cooling” for thermoelectric power plants, which require colossal amounts of water and electricity to keep their machinery chugging along at optimum temperatures. The film measures a lithe 50 micrometers thick, or just slightly more substantial than the aluminum foil you’d find in your kitchen. And, much like foil, researchers say it can be easily and economically manufactured by the roll for large-scale residential and commercial applications. “We feel that this low-cost manufacturing process will be transformative for real-world applications of this radiative cooling technology,” Xiaobo Yin, an assistant professor who co-directed the research, said in a statement. Buildings and power plants aren’t the only structures that could benefit, Yin said. The material could keep solar panels from overheating, allowing them to not only work longer, but harder, as well. Related: 3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water “Just by applying this material to the surface of a solar panel, we can cool the panel and recover an additional one to two percent of solar efficiency,” said Yin. “That makes a big difference at scale.” Yin and his cohorts have applied for a patent as a prelude to exploring potential commercial applications. They also plan to create a 200-square-meter “cooling farm” prototype in Boulder sometime this year. “The key advantage of this technology is that it works 24/7 with no electricity or water usage,” said Ronggui Yang, a professor of mechanical engineering and a co-author of the paper. “We’re excited about the opportunity to explore potential uses in the power industry, aerospace, agriculture and more.” + University of Colorado Boulder Photo by Chris Eason

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New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

February 13, 2017 by  
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The green-roofed H2 Cape House by architect Vincent Coste looks like an ideal place to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun. The sprawling residence blends into the unique seaside setting of Corsica without disturbing the existing vegetation or nearby granite rocks. Merging the interior and exterior into a single, flowing space, the house offers a variety of ambiances. Its expansive single-story design makes way for several outdoor areas, including a central terrace , two swimming pools and access to a private beach and port for boats. Related: Coastal Solar-Powered Villa F Prefab Soaks Up the Sun in Greece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOhVBFzZZiM The extensive use of glass maximizes views of the surroundings, while red cedar siding adds warmth to the entire building. A large boulder seems to support one of the many cantilevering surfaces and overhangs of the building, contrasting the skinny facade. + Vincent Coste Via Uncrate Photos by Florent Joliot

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Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

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