Air conditioning a building by consuming less energy: this is the bet of a team from the University of Caen, in western France, which has designed a prototype of a cooling surface presented as a solution for urban areas. overheated. The research of passive cooling system occupies many researchers in the world.
The structure imagined in Caen, called “refrigerating radiative surface” (SRR), is made up of disks of a few centimeters of silica and oxide of a metal called niobium, manufactured in northern Italy by the Turin firm Elettrorava, indicates one of the designers, Julien Cardin, teacher at the National School of Engineers (ENSI) in Caen and engineer at the University of Caen Normandy.
Placed on a roof, it reflects the visible rays of the sun so as not to heat the construction and evacuates the internal heat by infrared radiation towards space without heating the atmosphere. It can lower the temperature inside a building by 30°C.
For increased efficiency, the device can be connected to a heat exchanger supplied with coolant, water for example, by a pump, according to its promoters.
Among the competing processes is the SkyCool Systems project, developed by California’s Stanford University since 2016.
“Our targets are overheated urban areas”, explains Julien Cardin, who starts from the observation that air conditioners are both too energy-intensive and contribute to climate change. “Air conditioners heat the atmosphere less locally (by creating heat islands around the building, editor’s note) than globally through the emission of CO2“, he underlines.
In France, the rate of air conditioning equipment among households remains modest, compared to the United States where the overwhelming majority of homes have an air conditioner. But, even in France, “without changing behavior, without renovation of buildings, it can become very impacting by 2050”, estimates Ademe, the French agency for ecological transition, which notes that the rate of French equipment in air conditioners is constantly increasing, rising from 14% in 2016 to 25% in 2020.
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