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Beat the heat (and noise) with 'green' building materials

Green Building Materials

In an urban city such as Singapore- noise and heat pollution are inevitable – causing an over-reliance on thick window shades and air-conditioning to live and work comfortably.

A team of researchers in A*STAR- however- aspire to change that by developing ‘green’ building materials. These materials are able to block external noise and heat from entering buildings- which make for quieter- cooler urban interiors.

Typically- there are two methods in noise-cancelling: the ‘passive’ method- which relies on sound absorption by sponge-like material- and the ‘active’ method which uses speakers to broadcast opposing frequencies that cancel out external noise. The latter is more effective- but has been expensive to implement and can only cover smaller areas.

To solve this problem- A*STAR researchers have developed a noise-cancelling speaker membrane that is thin- transparent and can be mounted on windows. The membrane utilises the ‘active’ noise-cancelling method by vibrating in opposing frequencies when external noise hits it.

A*STAR researchers have also developed two coatings to tackle heat pollution. The first one is a heat-reflecting window coating that functions like photochromic lens- but is made with less expensive material. The coating- which can potentially block up to 90% of heat rays- has a shelf life of 3-5 years.

Another heat-resistant coating is heat-reflecting paint- which is similarly priced as normal paint but deflects more heat. The paint is also dust and rainwater-resistant; the team is now developing more paint colours.

These green building solutions are currently in the testing phase and will likely be available for commercial use within a year.