Saturday, 15 August 2015

Temporary (inflatable?) insulation

In my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience buildings are designed and built for permanence with the features of the building remaining static throughout the year, despite the variation in the seasons. It occurred to me that it should be fairly trivial, and possibly quite beneficial to have (possibly automated) changes to the features of buildings to address seasonal changes.

One example I have given some thought to is the deployment of additional insulation to the exterior of the building to address cold winter conditions. A tent-like structure could be deployed around the building to trap (albeit not particularly tightly) another layer of air. It could be a large tent that sits entirely around the building, or the tent material would be fixed to the building rolled-up like a swimming pool cover for quick deployment. Possibly a full tent would not be required - an extra layer of roof could be unrolled over the existing roof, again from a swimming-pool-cover-like roll, unrolling into slots down the other sides of the roof.

Another possibility for insulation would be something inflatable, like a bouncy castle. The advantage of this is that the air in an inflatable structure is fully contained, providing better insulation. The inflatable structure could be fixed to the building such that it doesn't blow away in storms.

For buildings with plenty of land around them, an interesting solution to extra insulation would be to put a geodesic glass dome all around the building. But it occurs to me that with advances in robotics, it may be possible to create a self-assembling geodesic dome (perhaps using plastic cells, like the Eden Project). Of course self-assembling geodesic domes with plastic cells would also be very useful for this.

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