What if—instead of keeping our buildings cool from the inside—the heat just bounced off them back to where it came from?
There’s a big renewable energy resource we’ve yet to exploit: the cold of the universe.
That’s according to Aaswath Raman, a researcher with the Ginzton Laboratory, at Stanford University. What he means is the capacity of space to be a “thermodynamic resource,” helping us Earthlings to be more energy-efficient. Raman is working on a building material that’s ultra-reflective to the sun’s rays, and able to bounce significant amounts of heat so far away from buildings that it goes beyond the atmosphere.
The technology—passive cooling that works during the daytime—could help reduce the need for wasteful air conditioning. Currently, A/C accounts for 15% of all primary U.S. electricity demand, an enormous amount considering all the other things we use electricity for.
The material exploits the way that all objects throw off heat as infrared radiation. Some of this unseeable light is trapped within the atmosphere, all the more so because of greenhouse gas emissions. But some heat also goes into the upper atmosphere, where it’s dispersed into an enormous heat sink: the freezing cold vacuum of space. Raman’s coating—made up of seven layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide and a layer of silver—does two things. First, it’s able to send the infrared at a particular frequency so that it leaves our atmosphere. And second, it reflects 97% of sunlight, stopping buildings from heating up in the first place.
“The challenge was to continue to send out this heat as infrared light, or radiation, but at the same time not be heated up by the sun,” says Raman.
The Latest on: Passive cooling
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The Latest on: Passive cooling
- First-ever global coalition for clean cooling launched on April 5, 2019 at 12:51 am
The plan acknowledges that "there is an immense potential to rationalise the rise in requirement for active refrigerant-based cooling in the country by adoption of passive cooling design strategies ... […]
- Rammed concrete home in Portugal boasts passive design features and a green roof on March 26, 2019 at 1:31 pm
This technique provides the house with a strong thermal envelope, which — along with additional passive cooling strategies such as a green roof and thickened stone walls — boosts energy efficiency. ... […]
- Passive cooling with Intel's Core i9-9900K CPU on March 12, 2019 at 8:33 am
Why it matters: YouTuber der8auer conducts an interesting experiment, testing a passive cooler with Intel's Core i9-9900K CPU. It's not exactly what I'd call a "real-world" test and it's far from what ... […]
- Top tips for using passive design on February 15, 2019 at 12:30 am
Passive design is a design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home. Done correctly, it can reduce or eliminate the need for auxiliary heating or ... […]
- For passive cooling of your home on January 4, 2019 at 3:49 am
Global warming is happening much earlier than ever predicted, at which rate we may leave nothing for our future generations. While it is mandatory on all of us to reduce our consumptions, wastages, ... […]
- A new way to provide cooling without power on November 28, 2018 at 9:14 am
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT researchers have devised a new way of providing cooling on a hot sunny day, using inexpensive materials and requiring no fossil fuel-generated power. The passive system, which ... […]
- Passive directional sub-ambient daytime radiative cooling on November 27, 2018 at 2:29 am
Demonstrations of passive daytime radiative cooling have primarily relied on complex and costly spectrally selective nanophotonic structures with high emissivity in the transparent atmospheric ... […]
- Cooling paint drops the temperature of any surface on September 27, 2018 at 11:23 am
Researchers are building on that age-old strategy with a new wave of "passive radiative cooling" materials that shed sunlight and heat. Most are not easy to apply to existing roofs and walls, but a ... […]
- Global Passive Cooling Surface Industry 2018-2023 with a Special Focus on the Chinese Market - ResearchAndMarkets.com on August 31, 2018 at 12:07 pm
DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The "Global and Chinese Passive Cooling Surface Industry, 2018 Market Research Report" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The report provides key ... […]
- Global Passive Cooling Surface Industry 2018-2023 with a Special Focus on the Chinese Market - ResearchAndMarkets.com on August 31, 2018 at 7:06 am
The "Global and Chinese Passive Cooling Surface Industry, 2018 Market Research Report" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The report provides key statistics on the market ... […]
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