Translucent panels provide both daylight and insulation
BLACKSBURG, VA, February 20, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — An architecture professor added a floating luminous dining room to his 90-year-old brick colonial home. To retain the heat in the wintertime, he used an unlikely building material: bubble wrap.
Michael Ermann, a tenured faculty member of Virginia’s Tech School of Architecture + Design, created sandwich panels he is calling “Fiz” by layering UV-resistant bubble wrap between layers of glass. These translucent insulative panels aren’t intended to replace the building’s windows, but instead replace the opaque wall, storm door, or window shade.
“The idea of daylight runs counter to the idea of insulation. For about a decade I’ve been chasing a way to reach both simultaneously in the lab. No one would let me try it out on their house, so I put the concept in mine,” explained Ermann. “We’re 2.5 years into this experiment I’m living in, and it’s working so far. It’s cold today outside and my walls feel warm with a beautiful quality of light in the room.”
The panels, which feature a bubble wrap product imported from Europe, haven’t furled, melted, taken on moisture, torn, or broken down in sunlight.
Ermann hopes to generate enough interest in the idea to justify the manufacturing and distribution of bubble wrap panels at-scale. To that end, he’s set up a website for those interested to learn how the system works and to gather names of interested building professionals and building owners. Once he reaches 1,000 names gathered, he’ll take the idea to a building materials manufacturer.
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