Skylights Get a Second Chance at Practicality with New Nanotechnology

Natural lighting is a highly desirable feature in homes and commercial construction. A popular way of incorporating natural lighting into a construction design is by installing skylights. Even though aesthetically skylights are both visually pleasing and assist with increasing natural light in a space, it was once considered an impractical accent feature. One of the main reasons for this was because the glass used in skylight designs were not effective insulators. This created problems with glare, heat loss in the winter, heat gain in the summer, UV light penetration, and condensation problems. Recent innovations in nanotechnology have been working towards solving this issue.

Recently a company based in the UK used nanotechnology to create a spray on coating called Nansulate. Nansulate reduces and eliminates many of the problems that have plagued skylight design in the past. Unlike other anti-glare glass coatings it does not use absorption or reflectivity, it instead uses Hydro-NM-Oxide micro particles with a nano-sized internal architecture designed to prevent heat transfer and reduce UV light penetration. While in development, measurements done with a spectrophotometer showed that the coating was extremely effective, reducing heat loss by up to 34%. A second spectrophotometer reading was done to measure UV light penetration that also confirmed Nansulate reduced UV light by up to 80%.

The end result? Nansulate is a clear coating that insulates through low thermal conductivity, effectively keeping heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. It keeps out pesky UV rays, reduces glare, and is hydrophobic, therefore prevents condensation that can corrode and create mold problems. Nansulate inventors have big plans for this coating hoping to expand its use beyond skylights to full pane glass windows used in skyscrapers to help mitigate similar issues with heat loss and glare.

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