Everyone sitting behind a desk in a huge office building will know what I am talking about. You are tired, maybe slightly sleepy after lunch, finding it hard to concentrate, and to top it up, the sun is shining right at you, bringing up the office temperature to what feels like a million degrees. But, not all is lost, Sunbreak, the smart shading technology, might be coming soon to your rescue.
So, what is Sunbreak? The technology, which is still in its prototype stage of development, is essentially skin-like cover for skyscrapers. Inspired by the automatic garage doors, Sunbreak is automatically adjusted based on the angle of the sun. It controls the amount of light that enters through the windows of the offices, thus controlling energy usage and interior temperature.
In principle, if the sun is strong, the shades automatically close, minimizing the need of expensive energy consuming air conditioning. If the weather is cloudy or gloomy, solar panels on the shades direct the sunlight towards the inside of the room. And last but not least, the technology can be manually adjusted to control the light for only some of the offices via a simple smartphone app, while the rest maintain the automatic setting. You can see a demo video here.
The guys behind the invention are architects from the famous NBBJ, one of the World’s Top Ten Innovative Companies in Architecture and Design. Based on their huge experience, they believe that if the conditions within the working environment are well-controlled, the number of complaints by employees will drop drastically.
In addition, the makers are convinced that if such technology is fitted to newly constructed skyscrapers, it will eliminate the need of huge investments in expensive heating and cooling systems, numerous energy efficient lightings and installations, and why not even often very unpleasant exterior decoration.
Image (c) NBBJ