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Designing buildings to conserve energy and resources

Energy-saving Smart Facades

Written by , on April 20, 2015

Researchers and designers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute have developed a building façade element which uses the sun’s energy to shield the building’s interior from the sun.  Read more »

Zero Net Enegy at Zero Cost

Written by , on September 16, 2014

A revolutionary renovation programme in the Netherlands, called Energiesprong (Energy Jump), is delivering social housing with zero net energy consumption to social housing at zero cost to the tenant and with no subsidies to the builder.  Read more »

Easily Reduce Building Energy Use

Written by , on November 16, 2013

According to the US Department of Energy, on average office buildings are empty for about 72% of the time and 55% of their total electricity use occurs during this time. Half of this wasted electricity is used for heating, ventillation and air conditioning. Another 25% is consumed by lighting. The remaing 25% is “plug loads” […]  Read more »

Smart Windows

Written by , on September 2, 2013

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new material that could lead to smart windows where people could control the amount of light and heat that gets through. The material is a thin coating of nanocrystals embedded in the glass that can dynamically modify sunlight as it passes […]  Read more »

New Sensors Could Greatly Improve Building Energy Efficiency

Written by , on July 15, 2013

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say that a single advanced building control, now in development, could slash 18% – and tens of thousands of dollars – off the overall annual energy bill of the average large office building, with no loss of comfort. The conclusion is based on extensive […]  Read more »

Cooling by Sending Heat into Space

Written by , on April 21, 2013

Researchers, led by Professor Shanhui Fan, at Stanford University are developing rooftop panels that cool buildings by sending heat into space. The panel’s materials are engineered to emit thermal radiation in a very specific wavelength that is not absorbed by the atmosphere and, so, passes through it into space. The researchers estimate that, in theory, […]  Read more »

Efficient Lights in Any Shape

Written by , on December 9, 2012

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina have reported that they have developed a  plastic material that glows when an electric current runs through it. The material, which can be formed in any shape, gives off a soft, white light, similar to sunkight, and is just as energy efficient as LEDs. The researchers made […]  Read more »

Solar Panel Balcony Railings

Written by , on September 27, 2012

Sharp has announced that it is launching semi-transparent solar panels designed for balcony railings in apartment blocks. The semi-transparent black solar panels are 1.4 metres wide by 1 metre tall and just 7.6 millimetres thick. They have an efficiency of about 6.8% with a maximum output of 95 watts. While this conversion rate is relatively […]  Read more »

Energy Efficiency at Google’s Data Centres

Written by , on July 11, 2012

Google says that its data centres use half the energy of a typical data centre. This is achieved through simple energy saving methods including siting of the data centre, efficient temperature management and reductions in residual energy loss.  Read more »

Building Cladding Controls Heat & Purifies Water

Written by , on June 22, 2012

The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology in New York has come up with a building exterior that not only helps the interior comfortable but purifies water. The exterior surface of the building is clad in modular glass blocks which are configured to capture, refocus and intensify sunlight. Greywater from sinks, showers and hand washing […]  Read more »