A Solar Structure That Cools in the Sun

Keeping buildings cool in the summer is hard enough as it is and we have access to air conditioning technologies. Now, there’s a better way to keep buildings, cars, and whatnot thanks to some research out of Stanford University. Their new approach to cooling entire structures doesn’t require electricity and means that air conditioners won’t be needed and thus a huge decrease in energy consumption can be achieved.

A team of researchers at Stanford has designed an entirely new form of cooling structure that cools even when the sun is shining. Such a structure could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by reflecting sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.

“We’ve taken a very different approach compared to previous efforts in this field,” said Aaswath Raman, a doctoral candidate in Fan’s lab and a co-first-author of the paper. “We combine the thermal emitter and solar reflector into one device, making it both higher performance and much more robust and practically relevant. In particular, we’re very excited because this design makes viable both industrial-scale and off-grid applications.”

Read more from the press release.

Green Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat

The summertime can get insanely hot and it’s very tempting to turn the air conditioning on full blast – don’t. Air conditioning is notoriously bad for the environment due to the ridiculous amount of energy they consume to cool a building.

There are many other ways to stay cool over the summer that require a heck of a lot less energy.

1. Close your windows
It may seem counter-intuitive, but opening the windows will often make your home warmer, not cooler. Open your windows at night if the air outside is cooler than inside, and close them — along with blinds and shades — before the sun hits your house in the morning. This will allow cool night air to circulate, and prevent a good deal of the sun’s heat from infiltrating your living space.

You may also put houseplants — particularly larger potted trees — in front of sunny windows to absorb some of the sun’s energy. Use this method, and on all but the summer’s hottest days, you can get away without using the air conditioning at all!

2. Use fans strategically
Ceiling fans and those set right in front of you are there to keep you cool, not cool the room. But a fan in your face can help you feel dramatically cooler, even if the room temperature hardly budges. You should be able to set your air conditioner higher, at about 78 degrees, but feel much cooler by using a fan.

Enhance its effect by wetting your skin with a spray bottle, and get a near-instant cooling effect by wetting your wrists and letting the fan blow air across them.

Fans can help cool your home, particularly when used to blow cooler air indoors, usually at night. You can maximize the effect by creating a wind tunnel of sorts, with a fan blowing cool air in on one end of the house, and another blowing out on the opposite side of the house.

3. Adjust the thermostat
If you have central air controlled by a thermostat, program it to save energy by increasing the heat significantly during the day when the house is empty, and give up a couple degrees at night, too — especially on the hottest days.

You may be surprised to find that the contrast between outdoor and indoor temperatures matters as much as the absolute temperature inside your home.

Keep reading at Yahoo Green.

Solar Air Conditioners in South Korea

Solar powered air conditioners are a great way to lower power consumption in the hot summer months. Air conditioners turn on when it’s too hot and the sun is generally producing that heat, so why not use the sun to cool down your home?

Many blackouts occur because too many air conditioners are running so solar powered units just make a whole lot of sense.

LG electronics announced yesterday the debut of the first eco-friendly solar hybrid air
conditioner in korea. this new product provides up to 70 watts of power per hour via
solar cell modules attached to the top of this outdoor unit.

according to the korean manufacturer, this new hybrid system is capable of reducing
around 212kg of CO2 over 10 years, equivalent to 780 pine trees (over the same period).

Via Akihabara News

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