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Coloured low-emissivity films for building envelopes for year-round energy savings

Yucan Peng, Lingling Fan, Weiliang Jin, Yusheng Ye, Zhuojun Huang, Shang Zhai, Xuan Luo, Yinxing Ma, Jing Tang, Jiawei Zhou, Louisa C. Greenburg, Arun Majumdar, Shanhui Fan and Yi Cui ()
Additional contact information
Yucan Peng: Stanford University
Lingling Fan: Stanford University
Weiliang Jin: Stanford University
Yusheng Ye: Stanford University
Zhuojun Huang: Stanford University
Shang Zhai: Stanford University
Xuan Luo: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Yinxing Ma: Stanford University
Jing Tang: Stanford University
Jiawei Zhou: Stanford University
Louisa C. Greenburg: Stanford University
Arun Majumdar: Stanford University
Shanhui Fan: Stanford University
Yi Cui: Stanford University

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 4, 339-347

Abstract: Abstract Buildings are responsible for over 40% of total US energy use, of which about 40% is directly related to the operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Saving energy to heat and cool buildings would contribute substantially to sustainability. Here we propose a category of coloured low-emissivity films for building walls that constitute the main component of the building thermal envelope. We demonstrate high reflectance (~90%) in infrared wavelength range and selective reflectance in the visible light wavelength range for desired colours. These films can help minimize radiative heat exchange between the indoor and outdoor environments, thus saving energy for all-year cooling and heating while satisfying the required aesthetical effect. Simulations show that these films can help reduce heat gain and loss by up to 257.6 MJ per installation wall area annually. In the case of a typical midrise apartment building, the HVAC system can save up to 124.46 GJ (equal to 9.87% of the building’s HVAC energy consumption). By rough estimation, a global CO2 emission reduction of 1.14 billion metric tons annually could be achieved. Our work provides insights for innovative energy-saving building envelope materials that can help achieve global carbon neutrality and sustainability.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-021-00836-x

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