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Zero Energy Adaptive Façade (ZEAF) for Energy Efficient Buildings

Schematics of the proposed self-shading system, Zero Energy Adaptive Façade (ZEAF). Photo responsive opening simulation from Left to Right. 

Published March 18, 2016

H. Lin (CBE), J. Y. Song (Architecture), J. Shim (CSEE)

Dynamic façade systems with inexpensive material cost and a high degree of design flexibility for buildings with high energy-efficiency.

The overarching goal of this proposed project is to develop a Zero Energy Adaptive Façade (ZEAF) integrating a photochemical responsive polymer sheet into building façades through an origami inspired folding pattern to efficiently control the heat gain, and thus enhance the building energy efficiency. The façades emulate the diffuse, dappled light quality created by deciduous trees in the summertime by smoothly responding to daylighting conditions.

The basic principle is that stress is developed during the light irradiation of a smart polymer sheet, which is bonded to thin, stiff polymer layers. This allows the formation of hinges that can reversibly fold with control of mountain and valley assignments. Specifically, the PIs will design and optimize the light responsive polymers based on Crosslinked Liquid-Crystalline Polymers (CLCPs) and the folding patterns with artistry to allow diffused shading with millimeter scale panel folds, just like sunshine through leaves.

The PIs expect that this transformative approach will be applied to the mass production of dynamic façade systems with relatively inexpensive material cost and a high degree of design flexibility for green buildings with high energy-efficiency. Our interdisciplinary team brings in expertise in architecture design, polymer design and synthesis, and the design and simulation of pattern transformation to address the various aspects of the proposed technology, which will be leveraged to attract a funding from DOE, NSF, EPA and industries.