Research reveals Potential of Water for Energy Savings of Buildings


Heating and cooling of buildings has two repercussions: cost and carbon emissions. According to statistics of the UK Green Building Council, buildings account for almost 40% of total carbon footprint in the country. And, heating alone accounts for 10% of carbon emissions.

To address this, improving windows is where our attention needs to turn towards. Whilst the area occupied by windows is small in a building, they exhibit worse insulation capacity than that of normal wall surfaces. And, small changes can result in up to 25% energy savings for the entire building.

Following a research carried out by an associate at the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, a new material is discovered that can save more energy than any of the currently available technologies – water.

Water-filled Glass System work for both Hot and Cold Climates

The result is published in Energy and Buildings. The joint effort of two researchers who have been researching the concept for more than a decade demonstrate how water-filled glass can revolutionize building design and performance when installed as part of a larger heating system.

Water-filled glass systems perform well in inhabited climate. These system keep buildings in hot climates cool and buildings in cool environments warm, without the need for additional energy supply. This highlights the potential of the technology to make a real splash to reduce carbon emissions.

By definition, water-filled glass system involves a sheet of water filled between two panels of glass, with the water being practically invisible.

The concept developed by the researcher is a result of inspiration drawn by Japanese outdoor baths. These outdoor baths, known as rotenburo, are used during winter months as the thermal properties of water keep surroundings warm. To implement this, the researcher developed the concept into a working design and then constructed two prototype buildings for two climates.

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