Porous polymer coatings dynamically control light and heat

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The porous polymer coatings, which switch from white to transparent when wetted, can be put into plastic enclosures to make panels that control light and temperatures of buildings. Credit: Jyotirmoy Mandal/Columbia Engineering

Buildings devote more than 30% of their energy use to heating, cooling, and lighting systems. Passive designs such as cool roof paints have gone a long way toward reducing this usage, and its impact on the environment and climate, but they have one key limitation—they are usually static, and thus not responsive to daily or seasonal changes.

Columbia Engineering researchers have developed porous polymer coatings (PPCs) that enable inexpensive and scalable ways to control light and heat in buildings. They took advantage of the optical switchability of PPCs in the solar wavelengths to regulate solar heating and daylighting, and extended the concept to thermal infrared wavelengths to modulate heat radiated by objects. Their work is published on October 21, 2019 by Joule.

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Comfy – a new app that solves the No. 1 complaint about offices

comfy

Comfy

You go to work on a hot summer day, but as soon as you sit at your desk, your are freezing. Or it’s winter and the heater keeps you too hot. The heating and cooling system is designed to keep you comfortable but it’s not doing a very good job, and it wastes massive amounts of energy in the process.

 

 

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Vent-Miser Programmable Energy Saving Vent

Vent-Miser Programmable Energy Saving Vent 

Vent-Miser 

Having central heating is easy and convenient, but not very cost effective. For one thing, you’re heating rooms that are not in use. Most homes do not need every single room to be the same temperature. hat’s where this device comes in handy. The Vent-Miser Programmable Energy Saving Vent saves you money by controlling individual room temperature.

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Passive Houses Have No Furnaces But Plenty Of Heat

Passive Houses Have No Furnaces But Plenty Of Heat 

From the outside, there is nothing unusual about the stylish new gray and orange row houses in the Kranichstein District, with wreaths on the doors and Christmas lights twinkling through a freezing drizzle. But these houses are part of a revolution in building design: There are no drafts, no cold tile floors, no snuggling under blankets until the furnace kicks in. There is, in fact, no furnace.

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Charcoal Briquettes Made From Old Newspapers

Charcoal Briquettes Made From Old Newspapers 

You’ve likely seen those hand-cranked, wrought iron presses that allow you to recycle your old newspapers into burnable bricks or fire logs. Now Shigeru Ota, a 75-year-old Japanese bicycle shop owner from Tateyama city in Japan’s Chiba prefecture, has worked up something similar that cuts the unwieldy compressed brinks of newsprint down to size.

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