The urban heat island effect - the hot, overwhelming temperatures that a city's concrete produces - has a huge impact on livability and comfort within the city. Now, an elegant cooling system has been designed that not only reduces energy usage, but - should it be installed on multiple buildings - could even lower the overall temperature of a city itself. Learn more, after the break.
Designed by Nikken Sekkei, The Sony City Osaki Building, which recently won the 2014 Tall Building Innovation Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), features an innovative new cooling system: a skin of water-filled ceramic pipes known as BioSkin. BioSkin reduces the surface temperature of a building up to 12°C, and can even lower the micro-climate surrounding the building 2°C. The CTBUH explains how:
"The simplicity of the system is elegant. The BioSkin tubes are made of extruded aluminum cores, with a highly water-retentive terra-cotta shell attached to the aluminum core using an elastic adhesive. When rainwater collects on the rooftop, it is then drained to a subsurface storage tank, where it is filtered and sterilized. This water is then pumped up and circulated through the pipes, which in the live test case were incorporated as balcony railings on a Tokyo office building, reminiscent of the horizontal screens seen throughout Japan and known as sudare. Rainwater penetrates outward through the porous ceramic, evaporating from the pipe’s surface, cooling the surrounding air. Excess water is then drained down
to the soil of the premises to the extent possible, normalizing the water cycle and reducing the load on sewage infrastructure."