Outside temperatures are rising, while inside the air conditioning systems are humming away and consuming lots of energy. However, there are more sustainable ways of cooling buildings – with exterior architectural fabric from GKD.
June 2022 saw new record temperatures set throughout Europe – with 39.2°C being recorded in Cottbus, Germany, 47.2°C in the Spanish city of Montoro and 42.9°C in Biarritz, France. The fact that such high temperatures are being encountered more frequently, at least locally, is a direct consequence of climate change. It should therefore come as no surprise that more and more air conditioning and also cooling systems, such as fridges and freezers, are being used worldwide. While these are both helpful and also necessary at first glance, they have a devastating impact on the climate. This is because the hydrofluorocarbons used in the systems (HFCs) have a far more pronounced greenhouse effect than CO2. As forecast by the United Nations, HFCs are likely to be responsible for twelve percent of the global temperature rise in 2050. Since air conditioning systems also require a lot of power, combustion of fossil fuels is on the rise in many places to cater to this increased demand. This in turn increases environmentally harmful carbon emissions. Based on estimates, around 40 percent of all electricity consumption in Southeast Asia will be due to air conditioning systems in 15 years.
Escaping from this vicious cycle not only requires more energy-efficient technologies, but also consistently sustainable solutions. In the field of architecture, these include solar protection systems, which reflect the thermal radiation before it reaches the actual building shell. This makes particular sense for buildings with large areas of glazing, as these quickly allow the heat from solar radiation to enter the interior, which then requires a great deal of energy to be cooled back down.
External metal fabrics are especially helpful here. Not only do they serve as effective solar protection, they can also be used dynamically, for example to make optimum use of natural daylight for interior lighting and thereby also cut energy bills. GKD metal fabrics combine excellent solar protection properties with a pleasant view to the outside.
In a practical test performed at the Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, USA) in August at an outside air temperature of 23.9°C, GKD metal fabric was able to reduce the wall temperature by 19%. Whereas a temperature of 34.4°C was measured on the non-shaded wall, the wall temperature in the shaded area was just 27.8°C. However, the metal fabrics are not only effective in summer. During the winter months, they support heat generation by allowing sunlight into the interior spaces.
Architectural and design fabrics from GKD can be found in numerous outstanding architectural projects worldwide. Not only do they allow unique façade designs to be created, they also have a positive influence on the energy balance of buildings. With solutions like these, the GKD Group supports sustainable construction – in keeping with the guiding principle of making the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. Learn more about the sustainable benefits of architecture mesh from GKD here.