By Tyler Irving
Prototypes designed and built at U of T Engineering contain several layers of channels, each of which contain fluids with various optical properties. By pumping the fluids in and out of the channels, the system can optimize the type, quantity and distribution of light passing through. (Artist’s impression courtesy Raphael Kay, Adrian So)
U of T Engineering researchers have developed a multilayered fluidic system that can reduce the energy costs of heating, cooling and lighting buildings by optimizing the wavelength, intensity and dispersion of light transmitted through windows.
The platform was inspired by the dynamic colour-changing skin of organisms such as squid. Compared with existing technologies, it offers much greater control while keeping costs low due to its use of simple, off-the-shelf components.
“Buildings use a ton of energy to heat, cool and illuminate the spaces inside them,” says recent graduate Raphael Kay (MIE MASc 2T2), lead author on a new paper published in PNAS.
“If we can strategically control the amount, type and direction of solar energy that enters our buildings, we can massively reduce the amount of work that we ask heaters, coolers and lights to do.”Continue reading… “‘Liquid windows’ inspired by squid skin could help buildings react to changing environments, save on energy costs”