Green House Technologies

 

An average European spends 90% of his life indoors. The quality of the indoors depends on resources provided by nature, such as daylight and fresh air. Poor indoor air quality results to increased concentrations of indoor air pollutants and leads to discomfort and sicknesses related to the so call “Sick-Building Syndrome”. Consequently, this induces prevalence of headaches and concentration difficulties and translates to irritation of mucous membranes (nose, eyes), odor distraction, allergic reactions or toxicological effects. Air conditioning, combustion sources such as stoves, fireplaces and cooking stoves, tobacco smoke, carpets, computers and furniture and detergents used for cleaning along with other chemical compounds are usually pollutant elements in an indoor environment. Therefore, the issue of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is of utmost importance.

 

In the past decades a large number of studies have identified the presence of many chemical substances in indoor environments (buildings, homes). The major sources of indoor air pollution are usually cigarette smoke (smokers emit pollutants in excess of the limits of healthy indoor) and certain chemicals emitted from furniture, carpets, paper, ink, insulation materials, etc. Among these the most frequently identified are, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) from appliances, ozone (O3) from photocopiers, ionized particles radiation from computer monitors , lighting sources, and chemicals from cleaning fluids such as adhesives. On top of these, crowded areas are often full of microorganisms and viruses.

 

In Europe, the majority of buildings are ruther old (60% are "aged" with a mean age of 25 years), increasing the need for developing new systems and technologies to improve Indoor Air Quality, (IAQ). Thus, a need is emerging for the realization of an air cleaning system suitable for installation in any type of building which may improve indoor air quality providing acceptable and reliable human performance operation.

Some examples of the technologies used in the «Green House of the Future»shown in figure:

 
Future Green House / The Green House of the Future in Crete


FORTH
and TCM&D group has designed and constructed a unique European Prototypal pilot plan to be used for testing the advanced photocatalytic materials. The so called “Demo Houses” are located in the combined premises of FORTH/IESL and the Science and Technology Park of Crete.

 

One of the two Demo Houses, build to demonstrate the so called "ECO House Technologies" has interior covered with materials for degradation of pollutants along with an elaborate indoor air quality and purification control system. Stability and durability aspects as well as direct comparison is possible through a direct comparison with the second one, called "Conventional House", located next door. The two houses are separated by a control room where the monitoring equipments, like control electronics, NOx, CO, O3 and BTEX analyzers and the air pollutants cylinder gases are placed. These Demo Houses will be equipped with gas sensors for real time 24 hour monitoring of hazardous gases such as CO2, NOx etc and detectors for parallel recording of temperature, light and humidity variations.

 

In the "ECO House" will have walls and ceiling covered with materials for photo-catalytic degradation of pollutants along with an elaborate indoor air quality (iAQ) and purification control system in cooperation with DimTech, a Greek air-conditioning company. In the other "Conventional House" will have thermal regulating coatings based on Phase Change Materials (PCMs) from Saint-Gobain/ Maxit and Vacuum Insulating Panels (VIPs) from Porextherm GmbH.In both Demo Houses, windows will be coated with metal oxide materials such as ZnO, Nb:TiO2 developed in our laboratory exhibiting super-hydrophilic / hydrophobic properties (self-clean surfaces).

On this subject our group at FORTH was selected as one of the ten finalists inthe recent National Competition for Applied Research and Innovation entitled ‘Greece Innovates’ (http://kainotomeis.gr).

 

 

Additional information