Smart cladding could control whether buildings retain or emit heat

A new material changes its infrared colour when a small electric current is applied, raising the possibility of buildings that store or release heat depending on outside temperatures

Environment



3 February 2023

2HJ1JYB Buildings in the near north side Chicago skyline bask in the late evening sun not long before sunset.

Temperature control systems in buildings consume a lot of energy

Bruce Leighty/Alamy

A new material could provide smart cladding for buildings that alters how much heat they absorb or emit by changing their infrared colour with the flick of a switch, similar to sunglasses that turn dark when exposed to light.

Usually, a building’s temperature is controlled using air conditioning or heating units. But this is an energy-intensive and polluting way of managing things.

Buildings are responsible for about 40 per cent of global energy consumption and 33 per cent of greenhouse …

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