Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 56

Live Smart / Solar Blinds industrial , medical or construction applications . One of these was a recent development by scientists from ETH Zürich , who built on this hygromorphic ( moisture-sensitive ) ability of the pine cone to create a prototype of a system that would provide maximum shade during the heat of the day ( low humidity ) and less during periods of low light and high humidity . Their sun-shading prototype relies on a system using two different layers of wood ( spruce and beech ), each cut and joined so that their grain would run perpendicularly to one another , thereby mimicking the structure of the pine cone and its response to humidity .
These planks , arranged in pairs , would change their shape and rotation in reaction to the level of humidity , enabling them to effectively ‘ close ’ the space created between them when the humidity levels decrease due to sunny conditions . And when the level of humidity increases again , and the temperature drops , the planks ‘ open ’ to let in more light . While this is not foolproof at this point , the prototype certainly deserves further development as it could be used to create roof or window coverings that operate under their own power , keeping out the sun and keeping interiors cool .
‘ We already have automated blinds , but this is is brilliant ,’ says Kenneth Dove CEO of Mediterranean Lifestyle . ' On the automation side , going into 2019 we are seeing a move away from wired motors for blinds , and a larger emphasis being placed on wire-free or battery-operated motors , so this innovation is way on trend .’ adds Dove
The effects of climate change , and more specifically the threat of increased temperatures to life as we know it , is a hot talking point for most of us – unless you ’ ve been living under a rock for the past couple of decades . So , any product or system that is made from environmentally friendly materials , has low maintenance and operational costs , and results in the cooling of a building without the use of electricity is sure to be a winner .
Tessa Buhrmann
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