Researchers at ETH-Zurich are borrowing from biology to cool buildings in a novel way: by making them “sweat.” They’ve developed a permeable polymer mat that can be spread across rooftops to absorb moisture like a sponge when it rains, locking it inside. But when heated to a certain temperature by the sun the material becomes hydrophobic and pushes the water out.
Future buildings may use heat to cool off more efficiently, using new materials developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The materials could enable compact adsorption chillers inside homes and office buildings.
Hoping to entice young residents to work outside, authorities in southern India announced a contest worth more than $20,000 to the winning designer of an air-conditioning jacket.
Authorities in the southern state of Kerala challenged individuals and research groups to come up with a viable prototype. A committee will select 10 options, and each inventor will get about $2,200 to develop their concepts. The winner gets $22,000, which is 1 million rupees.
When it comes to home comforts, few inventions can beat the air conditioner for its ability to help us tolerate the dog days of summer. The problem is, when it comes to energy-guzzlers, few inventions can beat the air conditioner.
But the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented a new air conditioning system that uses 50 to 90 percent less energy than the best available units. The Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative air conditioner -- DEVap -- combines membranes, evaporative cooling and liquid desiccants in a way that has never been done before.
EarthTalk Q&A: Eco-experts answer your environmental questions
By the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine
Posted 06.16.2008 at 1:47 pm 1 Comment
Dear EarthTalk: Summer’s going to be a scorcher this year, and I’d like to know how I can keep cool indoors without just running my energy-hogging air conditioners all the time. Any tips?
—John McGovern, Cohasset, MA
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.