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Autarkic Cooling via Building Skins

The cooling demand of buildings has been continuously increasing in the last years. The used style of architecture with large glazed surfaces, increased comfort requirements and changing climatic conditions are the main driving forces behind this development. The nowadays used conventional cooling systems are partly making use of large quantities of fossil energy and prove often unsatisfactory concerning their technical planning and technical and architectural implementation. This is partly due to system configurations that have to be developed individually for every building and partly due to restricted possibilities of on-site fabrication and assembly. On the contrary, element façades provide the possibility of a technologically high degree of prefabrication and thus allow for a quick and simple installation with a minimized risk of installation faults. 

The objective of the project is the development of a façade-integrated system for space-cooling. The solar irradiation onto the façade is converted directly or time-delayed to electrical energy, which is used to cool the adjacent room. The system is energetically autarkic and not dependent on energy from external sources. One of the advantages of the investigated systems is the simultaneousness of the availability of solar radiation and the cooling demand. In contrast to conventional cooling systems they can be entirely industrially prefabricated. The project is subdivided into three development steps: i) evaluation of promising system configurations, ii) construction and dimensioning of a functional model, iii) implementation into a test façade and monitoring. Concerning the methods the project is based on elaborated system simulations and experimental work with a functional model of the system as well as field tests under real operating conditions of a test façade.

Project start: September 2015

Project duration: 30 months

Project partners
Institut für Wärmetechnik – Technische Universität Graz (Konsortialleitung)
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology
Hans Höllwart-Forschungszentrum f. integrales Bauwesen AG
qpunkt GMBH 
Architekturbüro Reinberg ZT GesmbH

Funding line: Energy Research Programme, 1st Call 2014

AIT contact: Dr. Marcus Rennhofer