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Berkeley researches energy-efficient glass

Post Time:Feb 27,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:305

President Obama told the Department of Energy to come up with new energy standards for household appliances. He sees energy efficiency as a win-win situation, saving money while fighting global warming.

Researchers at Berkeley clearly see what the President is talking about.

The window of the future looks just like an ordinary window, unless one looks closely.

Structural physicist Christian Kohler explained to ABC7 a luxury people could one day enjoy, describing the effect a low-voltage electro-chromatic coating has on a window.

"If you want to let the sun into your house, set it to light; if your house is overheating, your air conditioning is working hard,you set it to dark," he explained.

Kohler knows the concept might have seemed impossible two generations ago. His father and grandfather worked in the window business. Today, Kohler's research goes directly to the United States Department of Energy.

"If you put better insulating windows in your house you will use less energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," he said. Based on present technology the reduction could be as much as one percent.

Kohler works at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab on energy-efficient coatings. He has developed computer models for all kinds of buildings and climates. Some coatings can be attached to the door of a freezer to keep the cold out. Others do the opposite. It's the idea that a glass coating can reflect not just visible light, but also infrared energy, heat.

Researcher Dennis Debartolomeo uses a mock-up of a high rise office to measure light and heat to find a perfect balance. "So, we look at glass. It's a major component. If you have to look like this, it's not a productive situation," he explains. But, it is the kind of research that might get some of those economic stimulus dollars.

"The technology is there. Let's get out and explain to people why to use it," said Debartolomeo, sounding like a guy who spends as much time looking at windows as he does looking through them.

Source: abclocal.go.comAuthor: shangyi

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