water filled windows passively insulate buildings using sunlight

water filled windows passively insulate buildings using sunlight

the glass filled with water absorbs heat from sunlight

an innovator window The prototype has been developed by the British startup Water-Filled Glass. The new set proposes the latest iteration of the well-known double-pane insulated window, introducing a thin water membrane between two layers of glass. This imperceptible film of water works to absorb heat from sunlight, or heat escaping from inside the building. Once heated, this water is pumped through a network of pipes below the floor throughout the coldest areas of the building.

This proprietary technology has been developed by Loughborough University Professor of Architecture Matyas Gutai together with his colleagues Daniel Schinagl and Abolfazl Ganji Kheybari. Gutai founded the British startup in 2020 and had previously worked for Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and in Kengo Kuma’s research lab at the University of Tokyo.

windows full of waterWater House 2.0 at Feng Chia University in Taiwan | images courtesy of Water-Filled Glass

UK startup works towards passive architecture

With window insulation strategies long a stumbling block in the search for passive architecture, the Water-Filled Glass team hopes this new technology can bring efficiency to even the most glassy buildings. According to the british startup This method of absorbing thermal energy not only warms interiors in colder climates, but also limits the amount of solar heat that enters a space in warmer climates. This reduces reliance on secondary shading as well as active heating and cooling systems, thus reducing overall carbon emissions.

To prevent water from freezing in winter, the assembly is modified to a triple pane window with its outer cavity filled with argon insulation. At most, the water can be heated up to forty degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

water-filled glass windows passively heat and cool buildings using sunlight

The team goes on to estimate that the technology will reduce energy bills by around twenty-five percent, depending on the weather and the window-to-wall ratio, compared to standard windows. While appropriate for new construction, it’s even recommended for building renovations as an energy-saving retrofit, where it mounts behind existing glazing.

windows full of water
the new window system is especially recommended for small spaces that heat up or cool down quickly

real world applications

The team especially recommends its Water-Filled Glass system for smaller buildings that are prone to cooling rapidly in winter or overheating in summer. Two prototype pavilions using the new technology have already been completed, named Water House 1.0 in Hungary and Water House 2.0 at Taiwan’s Feng Chia University. Soon the startup will see the completion of its first commercial projects, an industrial building in Hungary and an apartment complex in the United States, which are currently under construction.

windows full of waterthe thin film of water is visually imperceptible

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