Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Buildings

Clever Photosynthetic Breathing Building "Skin" to Cut Need for Energy

Bringing bioengineering to architecture, UCBerkeley Professors Luke Lee in Bioengineering and Maria-Paz Guttierez in the architecture department are pioneering a new type of thin film building membrane, creating a material structured at the nano and micro scale that can substitute for energy used for climate control in buildings.

In a project recently proposed to the National Science Foundation, they are working on a “skin” that works like nature’s skins to control humidity, light and heat in buildings the same way that nature does in our skin, without the use of electricity or mechanical elements.

[social_buttons]

Their prototype lense for use in their biomimic Self-Activated Building Envelope Regulation (SABER), reacts to changes in the building’s atmosphere by  triggering microscopic openings in the membrane.

The structure at the nano and micro scale will be substituting for energy previously spent to solve the problem of climate control in buildings. “The material has become the system,” says Guiterrez.

The film has two alternating rows of cells providing openings that are actuated by either light from the outside or humidity from the inside. Both types of cells are passive devices that work by material properties, not mechanical or energetic devices.

The first row of cells has micro-lenses embedded in the film that direct light to tiny pockets of photo-activated hydrogels which contract with the light and open up elastomeric microventuri tubes, bringing more airflow into the building when the film is in sunlight.

The second row of cells has a hygroreactive polymer that expands with increased moisture and opens up microvalves to allow more air, like hydraulic mechanisms in nature such as the turgor pressure in the guard cells of stomata in plants.

Wrapping it up on the outside is an external moisture barrier with a hydrophobic nano structure which works like the surface of the lotus leaf to wick water off. On the inside, a layer of desiccant silica gels absorbs moisture from the air inside and is integrated with the self-regulated ventilation system.

Energy used for climate control in buildings is responsible for about a third of the nation’s fossil fuel use. This project could prove a significant pioneering breakthrough that would eliminate the need for mechanical structures – run on electricity – to supply heating, cooling and humidity control.

Source: Inhabitat

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

Comments

You May Also Like

Autonomous Vehicles

These are times when you wish you could gather children over a bonfire to tell the story of how slime saved the day!

Air Quality

Episode #49 of Cleantech Talk is here! In this episode, we talk about reinventing the wheel, a Faraday Future maybe-resurrection, and Japan’s logical hots...

Buildings

Instead of halfway measures and greenwashing, Ray Anderson oriented Interface to the singular goal of having no net negative impact on the environment, something...

Buildings

Cradle to Cradle made industrial ecology and the circular economy a lot more mainstream than they had previously been. They’re both still niche notions, but...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.