According tomedia New Atlas, windows are a challenge in keeping buildings energy efficient. It was in mind that British scientists created a new type of window — a window full of water. Traditional windows have two problems. First, most windows can cause heat to leak out in cold weather, causing the building’s stoves to run more frequently. Another problem is that in hot weather, they allow sunlight to enter, generating heat that causes the air conditioner to start.
Dr Matyas Gutai, a lecturer in architecture at Loughborough University, believes that his “water-injection glass” (WFG) windows can address these limitations. Each window contains water and is sealed between two pieces of glass. When sunlight passes through the glass, it heats up water so that the room itself is not as hot as elsewhere. Once the temperature is high enough, the sun-heated water is pulled out of the window and piped through the walls to tanks elsewhere in the building. At the same time, cooled water is pumped into the WFG to replace the pumped water.
When the outdoor temperature drops later, the stored warm water is pumped back from the water tank and the room is warmed by radiating heat through the walls. In addition, these warm water can also be used in the building tap, reducing the need to run the water heater. Although some electricity is needed to pump water back and forth, Gutai claims that his setup is still much lower than the energy consumption of heating systems and air conditioners required to maintain the same room temperature under the same conditions.
In fact, according to computer simulations, it is estimated that a building equipped with WFG uses 72% less energy than similar buildings with double-glazed windows and traditional heating systems. The energy consumption of buildings with three-storey glass windows was reduced to 61%.
Gutai says that in sub-zero winter climates, an extra glass plate can be added that seals an insulation layer of argon to prevent water from freezing. He added that sunlight and heat in the room should also help keep the water from freezing, but if all else fails, an automatic system can pull all the water out of the window if the temperature is too low.
In addition, algae do not grow on the glass because the sealing system does not allow oxygen or microorganisms to enter. In addition, unlike other solar thermal systems, WFG does not require external sun visors such as blinds or coloring windows. What’s more, it is said that the soundination effect of this water-filled glass is very good.
“Glass is a drag on buildings because it affects energy consumption, thermal comfort, acoustics, and so on.” Gutai said. “WFG changed this model, turning glass into an opportunity for sustainable architecture. It shows us the overall thinking of buildings and building components that can lead to a more efficient and sustainable building environment. “
His latest research was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Abolfazl Kheybari of the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. The paper was recently published in the journal Energy and Architecture.