Fear not the heat of the sun
Research Project Title: Sunlight Without the Heat
Air conditioning and heating costs account for up to one third of the energy consumption of domestic and commercial buildings, and contribute directly to CO2 emissions. Much of the heat transfer takes place through windows, and INT researchers have developed - and continue to improve - glass coatings that increase the energy efficiency of buildings.
Their modus operandi has been to first develop a good understanding of the science (including the development and implementation of computational and analytical models), following which they have applied successfully for ARC Discovery and/or Linkage funding to develop the ideas further. In some cases they have patented their work and transferred their ideas to industry.
Their work has led to industry income from four multi-national companies, Solutia, BASF, Pilkington and AngloGold Ashanti, and two Australian companies, Fluorosolar and AGR Matthey.
LaB6, a glass coating developed by Professor Geoff Smith in a research partnership with Solutia, has already been used on diverse buildings in Australia and worldwide - a remarkably fast transfer of technology (the paper describing this work was published in Applied Physics Letters in 2003). In addition, the R&D division of giant multinational glassmaker Pilkington chose UTS as it partner in a bid to develop state-of-the-art coatings
In another approach to the problem, Professor Smith also pioneered new methods for collecting and 'piping' daylight into the interior of buildings - again without the attendant heat. This system is set to transform dark offices, car parks and stairwells with natural light and reduce power consumption for lighting through commercialisation with Fluorosolar.
This 'daylighting' system has five UTS patents, and industry interest is ongoing.