We can all agree that energy costs are rising, and therefore, it is more important than ever to develop energy-efficient appliances and systems for our homes and businesses. This is true in Orange County and throughout Southern California, where electricity rates have been increasing.
Here’s a article we found on an M.I.T. website that describes an especially “cool” method of saving energy and reducing our air conditioning bills. The article is provocatively entitled, “Melting Drywall Keeps Rooms Cool.”
Building materials that absorb heat during the day and release it at night, eliminating the need for air-conditioning in some climates, will soon be on the market in the United States. The North Carolina company National Gypsum is testing drywall sheets–the plaster panels that make up the walls in most new buildings–containing capsules that absorb heat to passively cool a building. The capsules, made by chemical giant BASF, can be incorporated into a range of construction materials and are already found in some products in Europe.
The “phase-change” materials inside the BASF capsules keep a room cool in much the same way that ice cubes chill a drink: by absorbing heat as they melt. Each polymer capsule contains paraffin waxes that melt at around room temperature, enabling them to keep the temperature of a room constant throughout the day. The waxes work best in climates that cool down at night, allowing the materials inside the capsules to solidify and release the heat they’ve stored during the day.
Inventions like this one could be part of the future of making air conditioning more efficient and affordable in Orange County, and in warmer inland areas like Riverside County and San Bernardino County.
Excerpted from an article by Katherine Bourzac; Photo Credit: Peter Schossig