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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Nanotechnology and Zero Net Energy Housing > Nanotechnology and your Zero Net Energy Home

Brandon Engel

Abstract:
Nanotechnology could help owners reduce their carbon footprint considerably

January 9th, 2014

Nanotechnology and your Zero Net Energy Home

There has been a lot of buzz in the media this past year about "Zero Net Houses", meaning houses which emit no carbon annually, and actually produce more energy than they consume. This comes at a time when tech companies are ever eager to appease a consumer base which is becoming increasingly conscientious about its day-to-day energy consumption habits. This offers a rich opportunity to the companies producing nanotechnologies -- it gives them a forum to demonstrate the potential ecological advantages of their services.

In many ways, nanotechnology is inherently well-suited for these kinds of applications. For one thing, researchers working in nano-fabrication are working on such a miniscule scale that there is a highly exacting level of control. Already, we've seen applications of nanotechnology which have yielded more energy-efficient vehicles. More and more, we're also seeing the potential applications for home appliances, and products that use nanotechnology which are highly efficient in terms of heating and lighting, electrical storage capacity, and which also emit less pollution annually.

One of the companies that is leading the pack right now is the Dais Analytic Corporation, who have introduced several important, eco-friendly products to the market, all of which use nanotechnology. Their products include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment like the Nano Air, which uses no refrigerant gasses, instead utilizing their proprietary nanomaterials to remove heat from air. The company has also claimed through press releases for the product that it will ultimately reduce "energy usage and harmful emissions by over 50%" from today's top of the line competitors. Whether this proves to be entirely accurate or merely sensational ad copy, such a number would be a definite step towards reducing one of the major sources of a structure's net carbon footprint.

And let's give credit where credit is due - the company has had at least one monumental win with its ConsERV HVAC setup, which is now used largely in schools and office complexes, in addition to homes. ConsERV is unique for a few reasons: for one thing, it makes use of tiny polymer membranes to boost its energy efficiency. This membrane has been specially engineered so that its pores allow for the passage of humidity and moisture, but reduce the passage of air itself. Polymer membranes manipulated at nanoscale are particularly useful towards this end, as they can be manipulated so that ultra-specific particles sizes can pass freely, while other particle shapes can be blocked.

Another company to watch out for is Auterra Inc. (formerly Applied NanoWorks). Located in New York City, the company deals with everything from producing more energy-efficient home appliances, to purifying and treating crude oil. Among the company's most significant contributions to the home consumer market are home-lighting products that use LEDs. LED lights, of course, generate light using only the smallest fraction of energy that, say, fluorescent bulbs do. They also benefit both consumers and the environment by lasting longer, which means that production is less wasteful, and fewer replacement bulbs will need to be purchased.

There are also quick and affordable ways you can supplement the benefits of energy efficient nanotechnology appliances. You could improve the insulation around your doors and windows by using a silicone-based caulk sealant, it's also increasingly easy to find ways to buy electricity that was generated from renewable methods through state-specific resources like http://www.texaselectricityproviders.com/power-to-choose/Texas/ (Texas), https://www.chooseenergy.com/electricity-locations/illinois] (Illinois), http://ctenergyinfo.com/compare-energy-suppliers] (Connecticut), and others.

With more and more consumers favoring energy-efficient products, and more and more companies fighting to fulfill their customers needs, those interested in the potential for a zero net home should be encouraged by the earnest effort being made to adapt lifestyle choices that don't denigrate the planet's natural resources. Nanotechnologies play a pivotal role in these efforts.

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