RCA GARAND CHALLEGE:
Global warming, heatwaves and the UHI effect are driving huge demand for cooling, behind all the cooling devices we take for granted lies an invisible negative cycle. And LOOP wants to change it.
Asia is the region with the largest proportion of the global Air-conditioner market. Only the Chinese market can account for 40% of the world’s total. Air conditioning generates a lot of extra heat to the outside while cooling and consumes a lot of electricity, which increases the negative impact of the urban heat island effect.
The most popular air conditioner in the market is the Split-type air conditioner. Using the refrigeration cycle, the internal unit can cool down the indoor air by transmitting the heat to the outside, this process also produces condensed water from the atmosphere, which is directly discharged to the outside for rapid evaporation, and the atmospheric humidity does not change. In fact, when cooling inside rooms, we not only generate more heat to the outside, indirectly heating up the surface air but also the electricity demand is rapidly increased, which will cause more pressure on the city.
The most deadly aspect of a heatwave is not the high temperature, but the fact that the heat is accompanied by high humidity that people's physiological sweating functions will not work. And these green surfaces are the natural shield to block the sunlight and reduce the heat. Leaves cover the urban surfaces to alleviate the heat up effect of the Asphalt and Concrete, while at the same time, combined with plant transpiration, the Indoor temperature can drop by 2-4 degrees Celsius. But current plant watering systems require additional water which will have an extra cost and evaporate much more water into the atmosphere.
Our concept is to collect air conditioning condensed water and use it as a source of water for vertical greening. We made a rough calculation of a typical residential building on the hottest days in Beijing, each air conditioner in a building can produce 500ML(millilitres) of condensed water per hour, and 5L(Liter) of condensed water per day. So an entire 6-floor building can produce 180L of water each day, which is quite enough for watering the green surface.
The RCA Grand Challenge 2020/21 is sponsored by Logitech.
With contributors from: BBC, CERN, UNDP, Gallup, Unreal Engine, Resilience Shift, World Health Organisation (WHO), Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), Elrha / Humanitarian Innovation Fund, vHM Design Futures, Foresight Factory.