Researchers are developing a thin-film technology that
adheres both solar cells and heat pumps onto surfaces,
ultimately turning walls and windows into climate
control system--and harvesting the sun's energy to
both heat and cool.
NSF-funded researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute have built a prototype Active Building
Envelope system. Made of solar panels, thermoelectric
heat pumps, and a storage device to provide energy on rainy days, the system silently cools and heats with no
Thin-film advances could make it possible to seamlessly
attach the system to various building surfaces, possibly
rendering conventional air conditioning and heating
hope the system's
will be used in a
range of industries,
from aerospace to
industries. If applied
windshields and sun
roofs, the technology could heat or cool a car's interior.
This thin-film technology harvests the sun's energy for heating and cooling.