New Cooling Technology for Buildings Works In the Full Heat of a Sunny Day
Electrical engineers at Stanford University published an article describing their cooling invention in last month's NanoLetters. What they discovered is a metal-dielectric photonic structure that radiates sunlight keeping what's inside cool. What are the implications of their invention? Buildings and homes that can be kept cool without air conditioning. Automobiles that no longer turn into ovens in the heat of a summer day.
So what is a metal-dielectric photonic structure? It is material that does two things:
- acts like a mirror to solar light reflecting the Sun's energy,
- emits what it reflects within a specific range of wavelength to not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
How can it do this, that is, reflect the heat of the Sun away from a building without heating the atmosphere around the building? The scientists created a thermal emitter and solar reflector in one using nanophotonic materials. The material both suppresses the heat from sunlight but also radiates it efficiently so that it doesn't hang round but escapes right out of the Earth's atmosphere.
The net cooling exceeds 100 watts per square meter, about the same amount of power as current solar panels generate at 10% efficiency. A single-family home clad in this new material could easily reduce its air conditioning needs by 35% or more even on the hottest summer days, and do this without drawing on any power source.
Such a passive cooling technology would serve well in much of the Developing World where power infrastructure to drive air conditioning is non-existent or heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels. And for areas off the grid, a technology like this presents an ideal solution for keeping buildings and homes cool during hot summers.
- About WFS
- Contact Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
- History of WFS
- Board and Council
- Press Room
- Futurist Gear
- Are You the Next CEO of the World Future Society?
- Book a WFS / Futurist Magazine Speaker
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
March 12, 2014 - Three items came across my desk the last few days and all of them relate to the risks and challenges we face globally by failing to act or ignoring the evidence of climate change.
March 12, 2014 - One of the growing problems of our venture into near-Earth space is garbage. We humans are great at discarding stuff whether here on Earth or in our neighbouring space.
March 11, 2014 - On the streets of San Francisco PPlanter is both a place to pee and a garden.
Some Scots want independence and their leader Salmond promises that he will deliver a land of milk and honey. I wrote a few months on some reasons I don’t think they should go their own way.
On March 4th 2014, an exciting new book on working with scenarios was launched by Amsterdam University Press: The essence of scenarios: learning from the shell experience by authors Angela Wilkinson and Roland Kupers. Both authors have an impressive history on working with scenarios inside and outside the Shell company and through their book provide us with an insiders view on the roll of scenarios and the famous scenario team in Shell from the early 1960’s up till now. The book gives us an insight in the development and fine-tuning of the ‘gentle art’ of scenario planning in Shell and is basically a unique case study with educational insights for both beginners and more experienced foresight experts.
Call it a legacy of the Baby Boomer generation, or a desperate attempt by states to generate new tax revenues. Either way, the decriminalization of marijuana is a trend that is simply too big to ignore.
March 10, 2014 - A 7.4 square meter (80 square foot) shelter named Exo is the creation of Mississippi born Michael McDaniel.