Buildings represent 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Improved energy efficiency within buildings is a priority objective towards fulfilment of Europe’s Kyoto Protocol commitments.
Windows are a key weak spot in the building envelope, resulting in heat losses during winter months (due to inferior insulating properties) and excessive solar heat gain during summer months (resulting in energy intensive air conditioning), representing 10% of a buildings energy consumption (4% of Europe’s total energy use).
Whilst super insulating window designs are available, limited progress has been made towards cost effective solar heat gain control (SHGC). Existing solutions are based on low cost tinted films that permanently block some light entering the room (leading to room darkening and negative energy efficiency during winter months). Whilst dynamic (switchable) films have been developed, such materials demonstrate inferior properties or are cost prohibitive.
SOLARGAIN will develop a low cost all polymeric switchable reflective SHGC film. The film will enable dynamic optical properties in response to the changing lighting, heating and cooling needs of the room, and thus improved occupier comfort and enhanced energy efficiency. The SHGC films will be incorporated within:
a highly insulated sealed window unit design targeting >90% window related energy savings;
a retrofit window film structure targeting >90% energy savings associated with room cooling;
Photovoltaic and sensor technologies will be integrated enabling self powering and intelligent activation. Achieving cost competitiveness with existing window systems, SOLARGAIN will also demonstrate significant long term cost savings through enhanced energy efficiency. SOLARGAIN will generate €40 million business growth within a 3 year period creating 85 new jobs; and has the potential to benefit >8000 SMEs operating in wider sectors.