Traditional home air conditioning systems typically function by blasting cold air into your home — with hot air being radiated back outside. But what if this excess heat could be eliminated altogether — by sending it into space?
It sounds like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie, but it’s technology that is actually being developed right now. Stanford University researchers have created a material that can keep buildings cool by beaming heat away from the buildings and into outer space.
According to a December 3 Futurity article, this thin, mirror-like material is comprised of multiple layers that both reflect almost all the sunlight that would otherwise heat the building, and send heat from within the structure out into space in the form of infrared radiation.
The end effect is a building that can be kept cool without as much need for air conditioning systems as before. It’s a space-age innovation that could change the way we seek out home air conditioning services forever.
The Futurity article reports that the Stanford researchers’ material has been designed for large building rooftops to help lessen our dependence on electricity. Currently, about 15% of the energy Americans consume is used to power air conditioning systems. And with global climate change becoming an increasingly-apparent reality, this method of beaming heat into space could potentially help regulate the earth’s temperature a little better.
However, the technology is still very much in its early stages, and the researchers haven’t yet figured out a way to make the reflective material able to withstand the elements or to make it a viable replacement for a home air conditioning service.
Just as we are increasingly turning to the sun as a renewable source of energy, we can now turn to the infinite cold, dark expanse of outer space as a place to send our excess heat.
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