At University of Toronto Engineering, Professor Ben Hatton and his colleagues from Harvard University have described a novel way to cut down the energy leaks from windows.
A bio-inspired window cooling system can help you cut energy bills by decreasing heat loss during the winter and keep buildings cool during the summer.
Their "bio-inspired approach to thermal control for cooling (or heating) building window surfaces" calls for attaching optically clear, flexible elastomer sheets, bonded to regular glass window panes. The elastomer sheets have channels running through them through which room temperature water flows.
Hatton and his colleagues said that the technique has resulted in 7 to 9 degrees of cooling in laboratory experiments and is effective both at small and large scales.
"Our results show that an artificial vascular network within a transparent layer, composed of channels on the micrometer to millimeter scale, and extending over the surface of a window, offers an additional and novel cooling mechanism for building windows and a new thermal control tool for building design," he said.
He said the technique could also be applied to solar panels for increasing their efficiency.
He also noted that as the water flows through the panels, it gets hotter, and this hot water could be used to supply heated water to an existing hot water system or to a heat storage system.
The study is published in journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.