Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hannover Messe 2015: Saving energy with smart façades

01.04.2015

Glass-fronted office buildings are some of the biggest energy consumers, and regulating their temperature is a big job. Now a façade element developed by Fraunhofer researchers and designers for glass fronts is to reduce energy consumption by harnessing solar thermal energy. A demonstrator version will be on display at Hannover Messe.

In Germany, buildings account for almost 40 percent of all energy usage. Heating, cooling and ventilating homes, offices and public spaces is expensive – and offices with huge glass façades are one of the worst offenders in terms of energy wastage.


The façade element operates using integrated shape-memory alloys and so doesn’t require an external power source.

© Bára Finnsdóttir | Weißensee School of Art Berlin

In the summer, these buildings begin to resemble giant greenhouses that take an enormous amount of effort to cool, while in winter heating requirements shoot up because of insufficient heat insulation for the glass surfaces.

In a bid to cut energy consumption, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Dresden have teamed up with the Department of Textile and Surface Design at Weissensee School of Art in Berlin to develop façade components that respond autonomously to sunlight and its thermal energy.

A thermally reactive fabric blind for glass façades

“We don’t need any power since we can rely solely on thermal energy to control the façade element,” says André Bucht, researcher and department head at Fraunhofer IWU. “The challenge in this project was how to bring together innovative technology and design,” adds Prof. Christiane Sauer from the Weissensee School of Art. “Having designers and scientists work together is the key to pioneering concepts for smart building envelopes.”

The demonstrator is based on a concept by design student Bára Finnsdottir, and consists of a matrix of 72 individual fabric components shaped like flowers. Each textile module has shape-memory actuators integrated into it; thin 80-millimeter-long wires of nickel-titanium alloy that remember their original shape when exposed to heat. Should the façade heat up due to the sunlight falling upon it, the wires are activated and noiselessly contract to open the textile components.

The exposed surface of the façade is covered and sunlight can no longer penetrate into the room. As soon as the sun disappears behind a cloud, the components close again so that the façade is transparent once more. The effect is thanks to a special lattice arrangement in the material. “When you bend the wire, it keeps that shape. Then when you expose it to heat, it remembers the shape it had originally and returns to that position. Picture the façade element as a sort of membrane that adapts to weather conditions throughout each day and during the various seasons of the year, providing the ideal amount of shade however strong the sun,” says Bucht.

Designed for large expanses of glass, the sun shield can be attached either on the outer layer of glass or in the space inbetween in the case of multi-layer façades. The innovative structure is easy to retrofit and comes with a range of design options, allowing you to choose the pattern, shape and color of the individual components.

“For instance, you might want to replace the circular design with triangles or a honeycomb arrangement. You can also control the level of sun exposure for individual sections of the façade – just the top left area, for instance. What’s more, the membrane even fits on curved areas of glass. We’ve reached the point where the design has become independent of the shape of the building,” says the researcher. Bucht and his team will be presenting the wealth of design options at Hannover Messe. Visit them in Hall 2, Booth C22 from April 13-17 to see the demonstrator in action. Visitors will be able to actively control the façade using a tablet app specially designed for the purpose.

In the next phase of the project, the researchers want to collaborate with industry partners to develop a range of prototypes for private and office buildings, with the intention of testing them long-term on a detached house and on buildings at the institute. “One priority will be to design fabric elements that are stable enough to withstand any weather,” says Bucht of the work ahead. The plan is to have versions for new builds as well as variants suitable for retrofitting onto existing buildings. The goal is for the systems to be ready for market launch by mid-2017.

But the researchers’ ideas for the façade of the future don’t end there: future plans include climate functions for the façade element, for instance variable heat insulation. “It might be possible to store solar thermal energy and then release it when needed to heat the interior, for instance at night. Another idea is to coat the flower fabric components with malleable, organic solar cells in order to generate electricity that can be used within the building.”

Hendrik Schneider | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/april/saving-energy-with-smart-facades.html

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Start to the year for medical exhibitions: international high-tech companies meet at MD&M West
17.01.2019 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Innovative Infrared heat reduces energy consumption in coating packaging for food
12.12.2018 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>