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DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/px8f-ah94

Abstract

The WATeRVASE is a Wind-catching Adaptive Technology for a Roof-integrated Ventilation Aperture System and Evaporative-cooling. Prior research for the adaptive wind catcher technique demonstrates the effective multi-fin design composition for geometry shifting in response to wind directions and speeds (Aviv, Meggers 2018, 186-195; Aviv, Axel, 2017, 1123-1128). Other prior research demonstrates the effectiveness of superporous polyelectrolyte hydrogels for water sorption and diffusion (Smith, 2017, 2481-2488; Ida, 2018). Our team members have also developed a machine-learning platform for testing building technology prototypes for particular environmental conditions and building integration analyses (Smith, Lasch, 2016, 98-105). The new area of research combines the prior work of environmental systems, material science, and electrical and computer engineering for expanding the potential environmental variables that might be addressed simultaneously with the WATeRVASE. Human thermal comfort is one of the most significant challenges in hotarid climate contexts due to energy-intensive building cooling needs, resulting in significant amounts of problematic carbon emissions. Existing experience has shown that passive cooling techniques with natural ventilation and evaporative-cooling provide excellent thermal comfort, together with very low energy consumption (Santamouris and Dionysia 2013, 74-79). The adaptive roof aperture is an advanced passive cooling system that responds to the external airflow thermodynamics by changing its membrane water sorption states to allow either downdraft airflow (saturated top membrane) or nighttime radiation (open top with dry ventilation membrane). In this research, we are developing the adaptive roof aperture functions in the specific hot-arid climate location of Tucson, Arizona. The integration of the hydrogel membrane as an inner surface-lining of the wind-catcher will enable the control of moisture interface with airflow streams via hydropumps with sensors and actuation control, providing evaporative-cooling effects for the daytime downdraft system. Furthermore, the prototype incorporates a lyophilized hydrogel that provides for humidity sorption at the base of the cooling space for water recuperation. The hydrogel membrane may also provide daylighting and thermal conduction mitigation based on saturation states. The project will also explore the potential for rain-water harvesting with the roof-integrated aperture, which is especially necessary for drought-prone hot-arid contexts.

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