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Self-Sustaining Buildings

July 26, 2013

The next generation of green buildings may be self-sufficient.



Self-sustaining buildings. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The next generation of green buildings will be virtually self-sufficient. This according to architect Maria Gutierrez and computer scientist Luke Lee of the University of California, Berkeley. In the journal Science, they promote efforts to integrate heating, water, and waste systems into a single, self-sustaining system. For example, Guiterrez cites a coating for building facades being developed at the University of Pennyslvania, which processes waste water from the building.

MARIA GUTIERREZ (University of California, Berkeley):

So the grey water, or what’s normally understood as the waste water, is collected through the day and exposed on a façade system to sunlight…

… which both disinfects the water for re-use in toilets, and warms it up enough to send it back through the building’s floors for radiant heating. Technologies like these could make buildings both more efficient and less dependent on power and water grids. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.