New drywall helps save energy, therefore isn't boring

Drywall may not be the most exciting topic, and I fully accept that. But what this new drywall could do to your power bill might excite you. The new drywall is filled with tiny beads of paraffin that absorb heat during the day, and release it at night. It could be the latest thing in green building technology.

Interested yet? Well…it could very well save a building's energy consumption by 40% so here's the scoop.

Normal drywall is made from gypsum-based plaster. The new drywall will contain the paraffin capsules for almost half the mix. As the building heats up during the day from sunlight, human activity, computers, appliances, etc. the beads of paraffin in the drywall will turn into a liquid state as they absorb the heat inside the building. This helps cool the building.

Conversely, at night when the beads start to return to a solid it releases the stored heat, keeping the building warmer.

The new drywall is a result of experiments at Spain's Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. When scientists ran tests, they found 1.5-inch thick boards made from the new material had five times the thermal capacity than normal drywall at the same thickness.

Incredibly, a six-inch layer of hollow brick masonry was found to have the same capacity of the new drywall. Further, in an area where the material was tested, a temperature range of 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit could be maintained without using air conditioning.

Given that these tests were done in Spain, can you start to see how these results might show promise for the U.S. market?

While there are some brands of drywall using paraffin already on the market, the mixture is not nearly as high as the ratios used in the testing. The tests just confirm that expanding the limits of the mix can exponentially change the efficiency, and the material is viable as a material to alternatively help keep costs down.

It's nice to know that there are scientists thinking of things like smart walls — they'll help us save on power costs without even having to think about it!

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid , via Gizmag

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