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Saving the world through energy preservation 

July 11, 2017

Digital Reporter

Cover art Samantha Gonzales

The future generation is probably more dependent on electricity than their predecessors, but these students are out to save the world one energy issue at a time.

During the final competition of Go Green in the City 2017, a national intercollegiate contest organized by Schneider Electric Philippines at Ascott Hotel BGC, Taguig City in June, students from three universities presented projects aimed at addressing different issues in energy consumption around the world.

The winning team from the De La Salle University (DLSU), led by Aaron Jules de Guzman and Iliana Bernice Tan, pitched that preserving energy can begin from corporate buildings in smart cities all over the world.

According to these green archers, more high‑rise buildings that bring about continuous urbanization contributes to the booming usage of energy around the world. High-rise buildings account for 40% of the total energy consumption and 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions globally. The main contributor to this are the cooling systems that amount to 48% of a building’s total energy consumption.

While there are currently cooling solutions and building technologies available in the market, these products usually have downsides. The duo seeks to address this issue through their project called Radiative-heat-recovering (RHR) glass.

RHR glass serves as an energy-absorbing insulation system, which reduces the total heat gain of a building while supplying energy for its cooling system.

The project has four parts: a typical window glass, a spacer that provides structural support for the glass, vacuum insulation that prevents conductive and convective heat transfer to the building, and solar tube collector integrated that absorbs the radiative heat from the sun to be utilized by the cooling system of the building.

Smart, right?

This wining team from DLSU will represent the Philippines in the Asia Pacific finals of the competition in July.

Meanwhile, Carmelle Pallilo and Jon Michael Mendoza from the University of the Philippines‑Diliman won second prize for their project called SMART Open Window (OW), which seeks to help cities around the world in meeting growing energy and functional demands while reducing negative environmental, health and safety impacts.

SMART OW creates a system using specialized window panels that can control, renews power generation and monitor. It works in three modes: OW‑Control that uses real-time environmental evaluations and preset user configuration to regulate and automate opening of windows, OW‑Charge that channels solar energy for in-house lighting, and OW‑Check that monitor functions for air quality and temperature.

These modes also work to decrease carbon footprints, use renewable energy for artificial lighting, and generate substantial data on air quality and urban temperature patterns that can be used for research and development.

The tandem of Meave Eilinger and Rowel Facunla from the Technological University of the Philippines-Quezon City proposed a way to lessen urban heating by converting thermal heat energy to electrical energy with the use of fiber‑reinforced tiles.

The team applies the flywheel effect, a concept that follows that materials having high thermal mass can store thermal energy and release it back when the ambient is cooler. The project, which utilizes cement mixed with carbon and steel fiber, aims to convert the stored heat to usable energy.

What can you do to conserve energy?