Refrigerated windows to avoid thermal bridges and alleviate energy costs


Research from Harvard try to solve the critical point of the whole structure in thermal effects: the window. The necessity of light and shelter from extreme temperatures, are opposed to design the openings of the walls. This technology solves, in a refrigerated window, this problem inspired by biological models of heat dissipation.

“[…] the high summer temperatures […] also influences the electricity bills. The air conditioners usually consume much energy, and in some cases employing pollutants harmful to the environment.

The truth is that traditional wisdom devised centuries architecture facing the heat, based on thick walls and whitewashed walls. […] The problem with these constructions is that the interior remains largely in the dark.

[…] a team from Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, part of Harvard University, has turned its attention to nature again to find a way to let in light but not heat: some windows that allow entrance of the sun but help regulate the temperature inside the houses.

Imitating the thermal regulation of skin

The answer found, effectively proposes a new solution to this problem. Although new to say it may be wrong, because the system uses thousands of years of practice. It is one of the tricks that our body to regulate its temperature.”


“[…] we have blood vessels directly beneath the skin that are very sensitive to temperature. When it rises, dilate the capillaries, increasing the amount of blood flowing through them and promote the evacuation of heat outward, lowering thus the temperature.

A network of channels marked in a sheet of silicone

Taking as an example the network of capillaries that irrigates our skin, Wyss Institute scientists have designed glass panels that incorporate a network of “ultra thin channels” through which cold water can flow, facilitating heat dissipation to the outside . Channels are long grooves, very thin, marked in a thin layer of transparent silicone adheres spread on the glass of the window. “


“Once placed the glass,” water enters at low temperatures, flows near a window that is hot and thermal energy she brings, “says Benjamin Hatton, director of the study. According to his calculations, using about 200 milliliters of water is possible to lower the temperature of the crystal about 8 degrees. This system would still require electricity or some other type of energy to circulate the water through the channels, but scientists say they consume much less than an air conditioner or fan.

As a next step, we plan to work with teams that investigate strategies for energy efficient and energy saving to calculate exactly how much you could save a building that it uses this type of windows on all floors. “