One Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity's energy needs.
And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai's invention is simple: water!!!
It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university. "Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water," the 34-year-old told AFP.
He showed off a small prototype in the backyard of a warehouse in his hometown of Kecskemet south of Budapest, developed with some 50,000 euros ($57,000) in EU funding and money from the Hungarian government.
The walls of Gutai's house are made of glass panels -- with a gap in between like double glazing -- filled with water. This water, only a few cubic metres, is warmed by the sun -- it can be piping hot during heat waves. It absorbs heat like a battery during hot spells and distributes it during cold snaps, making all cosy in winter or cool in summer, as needed. An inbuilt monitoring system allows the user to set the desired indoor temperature, with the heat stored in the water transferred around as needed. Excess heat in the water during hot periods is stored in a tank in the foundations to be sent back into the walls later when it gets colder.
The system reduces the need for external energy sources for heating, Gutai said, meaning that the building can be more independent from the local grid -- so not responsible for any carbon emissions.
"In no other structure are you completely surrounded by connected volumes of water which, using its natural properties, and via a process called 'convective heat transfer', is able to move energy around to where it's needed," Gutai told AFP.
"It absorbs, stores, heats, cools, and balances indoor temperatures."
The walls can be made either entirely or partially of glass and are strong enough to support the building structurally, he said, and also provide perfect insulation despite being much thinner than those on a normal building.
For Gutai's full report on the "Water-house" go here!
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