Homeowners know that the type of windows in a house contribute greatly to heating and cooling efficiency.
Homeowners know that the type of windows in a house contribute greatly to heating and cooling efficiency. And that’s a big deal—maintaining indoor temperatures consumes great amounts of energy and accounts for 20 to 40 percent of the national energy budgets in developed countries.
New research from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oxford takes energy efficient windows a step further by proposing a new “smart window” design that would harvest the sun’s energy in the winter to warm the house and reflect it in the summer to keep it cool. The work was recently published in the journal ACS Photonics and funded as part of the EPSRC Wearable and Flexible Technologies Collaboration.
“The major innovation is that these windows can change according to seasonal needs,” explained Nathan Youngblood, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt and first author. “They absorb near infrared light from the sun in the winter and turn it into heat for the inside of a building. In the summer months, the sun can be reflected instead of absorbed.”
Read more at University of Pittsburgh
Image: The fabricated smart windows are shown in both states, showing that the transmitted visible light changes very little. (Credit: Youngblood Photonics Lab)