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Innovative façades could save energy in buildings

buildingsA building design that allows air to circulate between an inner and outer façade could help keep structures cool in the summer and warm in the winter through the use of passive solar energy, according to researchers at Spain’s University of Cordoba.

Called an airflow façade or double-skin façade, the system could reduce a building’s energy consumption by 20 to 30 per cent, the researchers say.

The design works by letting air circulate in a chamber between an inner façade — made, for example, of brick and cement — and an outer façade made of stone or sheeting material. A grille at the bottom of the outer façade allows air to enter the chamber and rise as it’s heated by the sun. An exit grille at the top can then direct the warm air into the building on cool days, or send the air back outside during warm weather.

Researcher Manuel Ruiz de Adana and his team say such construction could help dramatically reduce the energy consumption of buildings, which account for about 40 per cent of the power used in the EU.

The team is now testing the system at a trial lab built in Edificio Da Vinci of the university Campus de Rabanales.

1 Comment

  • John
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    It’s a really good idea, but I wouldn’t call it ‘innovative’- I read about an idea sounding exactly like this at least 25 years ago. It’s called a Trombe wall –

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