German research team targets pinecone-powered blinds for climate control

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In Germany, a research team from three universities is investigating ways in which folding mechanisms found in nature can be used in architecture to improve environmental footprint.

Pine and fir cones close in the rain—to protect the seeds—but open when it is dry. These mechanisms could be leveraged to open or close blinds or other mobile façade elements based on the day’s weather conditions—saving energy.

The team is made up of scientists from the Technical University of Munich, the University of Freiburg, and the University of Stuttgart.

“Sustainable architecture urgently requires new materials if it is to live up to the high energy efficiency and climate protection requirements,” TUM Professor Cordt Zollfrank tells ChemEurope.

Buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption. Half of that energy is used for climate control.

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