Wax in walls could cut heating and cooling costs

Wax in walls could cut heating and cooling costs

WaxInsulationDavid Sailor, director of Portland State University’s Green Building Research Laboratory, began working in July 2009 on a better heating and cooling system for buildings: wax that absorbs and releases heat. His idea is to incorporate wax — similar to earwax, honeycomb wax or wax you might find while wandering around Nehalem — into a building’s walls. The wax is inserted into plastic capsules smaller than grains of sugar to maintain their shape and then mixed into the material of the wall. They melt at high temperatures, capturing heat and cooling the building. When the temperature cools, the wax solidifies and releases heat. “You’re able to lessen the peak temperatures that building will see most days of the year,” Sailor says. “You can remove the need for air conditioning.” First Sailor must find the optimal chemical composition for capturing heat in concrete walls. He’s researching the matter and expects results within a couple of months. He hopes his wall wax will evolve into a widespread component of green building technology with a dual benefit of cutting heating and cooling costs and saving the environment.    

AMANDA WALDROUPE

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Charles
0 #1 this is not a new ideaCharles 2010-06-09 14:20:33
The 2007 Solar Decathalon winner, designed at Universität Darmstadt in Darmstadt, German uses the same technique.
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Don
0 #2 FlawDon 2010-06-09 14:29:10
I think this only works if temperatures vary from day to day, or time to time. I don't think it would work in Barrow, Alaska where it never gets above freezing. And, I think if would have little use in Las Vegas, Nevada when it can be 100 or so degrees for days at a time.
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