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Integrated Responsive Building Envelopes: Energy saving structures of tomorrow

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While most of us concentrate on making a building effectively a zero-energy structure by incorporating alternative sources of energy such as solar rooftops and small wind turbines a team of architects from University of Michigan are looking elsewhere. And the statistics that they present show that their concern is indeed well placed. According to the figures in cities like New York 75 percent of the carbon footprints of the city come from its giant edifices.

Smart building exteriors for reduced energy costs and a cleaner environment

This number across the US is whooping 72 percent which has forced architects world over to look at building structures themselves in order to conserve energy and reduce carbon footprint. A team of architects, environmental scientists and engineers are embarking on a two-year venture which will explore the possibilities of future skyscrapers cutting out on energy consumption in a significant fashion. Dubbed as ‘Integrated Responsive Building Envelopes (IRBE), this venture will look at materials, construction methods, design techniques and technological advancements that will make existing and new structures a lot more energy efficient.

Instead of concentrating on what goes on inside the building in terms of energy flow, the team will focus on the surface of the problem; quite literally. They will explore options which will integrate buildings with windows that will open and close automatically to meet your natural lighting needs and walls that will regulate room temperature and keep it at a desired constant both in warm and cold weather conditions. The project will try and find out the best way forward in designing such features and the most suitable material and technological options on offer to achieve the goal.

The idea of IRBE is to ultimately design ‘smart buildings’ that will cut down on energy consumption, take care of consumer needs, will continue to please us with aesthetics and reduce carbon footprint. We will be waiting for the results along with prototype designs!

Via: Umich

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