Windows that change their light permeability at the touch of a button, façades, whose color can be changed according to the sunlight, façades and window parts in which transparent photovoltaic modules are integrated or in which microalgae are being bred to provide the house with its own biofuel: This is what the buildings of the future could feature, or at least something similar.
“Many of these ideas are certainly within imagination end even technological feasibility, today, in particular within the field of façades which may adapt to their environment and thus improve the energy efficiency of modern buildings,” states Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lothar Wondraczek from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany). “But only a fraction of this potential has been tackled so far, as the relevant materials and production processes are still missing,” he further explains.
The challenge lies in the large size
“This structured glass contains microfluidic channels through which a functional fluid circulates. As an example, this liquid will make it possible to automatically adjust the incidence of light or to harvest exterior heat which will then be transported to a heat pump,” Wondraczek explains. The scientists will conduct detailed tests of such façade and window modules to optimize the materials and their functional interaction. Therefore, ‘LaWin’ takes will take another step forward, i. e., to outside of the laboratory: Based on the results of their laboratory findings, the scientists plan to implement the innovative façades with reference buildings in order to test them under ‘real’ conditions. “The challenge lies in the large size“, Wondraczek points out. “As of today, there is no production process for such large-sized glass sheet with integrated micro structures. Moreover, the new glass façades have to be able to be integrated into conventional window and façade systems.” They also have to be cost-effective. After all, a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU and 40 percent of the energy consumption are due to the heating, cooling, air conditioning and lighting of buildings. Investments in energy efficient buildings are hence the most important levers to significantly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions and to reach the climate goals. “This is given by the laws of thermodynamics: To save and to efficiently use energy is always more beneficial than to generate it from whichever source,” the Jena materials scientist stresses. The topical area of ‘energy efficient buildings’ is therefore one of eight strategic key areas in which the European commission’s Public-Private-Partnership (PPP)-Initiative sees important possibilities for a sustainable reinforcement of the European innovation and industrial leadership in the global competition.
The Latest on: Intelligent facades
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The Latest on: Intelligent facades
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