Fall is rapidly approaching and temperatures have already started to drop in some areas of the country. It’s time to figure out where the jackets got hidden at the end of last winter and whether the heater is up for the task this year.
Residential and commercial buildings were responsible for 40 percent of all the energy consumed in the U.S. in 2013. That total makes the lighting, heating and cooling of indoor residential and commercial spaces the most power hungry of all users, beating industrial and transportation consumption by more than 10 percent each. Buildings also contribute almost 40 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
Focusing in, it turns out that space heating is the biggest energy hog and accounts for 37 percent of the total power consumed by U.S. buildings in 2010, according to the Buildings Energy Data Book.
Why isn’t there a smarter way than heating rooms regardless of whether people are in them or that the living things that occupy a space take up only a fraction of the conditioned area?
If you can get over the unnerving sensation of being followed by Sauron’s eye it sounds really good.
Their system uses motion sensing to direct infrared energy beams at occupants of a space, heating them as if they are under a heat lamp while the remaining space stays cold. This approach doesn’t waste energy on warming ambient air that does not affect the occupant’s perceived comfort. The gif above shows a Local Warming prototype system that was set up for the 2014 Venice Biennale. See it being put together in the video below.
The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency will be making funding available soon for ideas in three categories: wearable heating systems; close-range energy transfer to occupants at less than about three feet away; and long-range direct energy transfer systems that sit more than about three feet away. Technologies might range from heated computer wrist rests and chairs to pressure-activated infrared heat foot warmers under desks and systems like MIT’s Local Warming.