Self-warming clothes that harness the sunlight during the day to keep the wearers warm at night could soon transform energy consumption in cooler-climate areas. Made from a polymer ﬁlm, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a material that generates solar energy during the day and stores it in a chemical state until needed. This chemical storage maintains the stability of the heat, allowing users to release warmth as needed – reactivating it by light or a touch of body heat during colder evenings. Researchers have said the material can heat by up to 15 degrees and is a manufactured using a simple two-step process.
RMTH LE WA
A BUILDING WITH A BRAIN
The Edge is a 15-storey commercial glass building in Amsterdam which holds the highest sustainability score ever awarded by the British rating agency, BREEM, at 98.4 per cent. Architecturally designed to follow the path of the sun, it generates 102 per cent of the building’s energy. The Edge offers a glimpse of the smart buildings of the future – it knows what is going on inside and actively responds in real time, thanks to over 28,000 sensors that monitor light, temperature, motion, humidity, and more. Employees use an app to manage their work days, from notifying them of free car or bike spots to directing them to an available workspace which is selected based on their schedules. The app also communicates with the building to adjust light and temperature according to the preferences of an employee using the space.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison have invented an energy-generating ﬂooring material made from recycled wood pulp, a common waste material. As people walk across it, the vibration generates a type of energy known as triboelectricity, which can then be captured and stored for later use. The team of researchers chemically treated the wood pulp nanoﬁbres with two differently charged materials so that movement such as walking, running and cycling causes the ﬁbres to interact with each other and release electrons. The electrons are captured by a capacitor attached to the ﬂooring material, storing the energy for use when a battery or device is connected.