August 26, 2010
Optical technology developed in Bioengineering Professor Luke Lee’s laboratory will be an important component of a breakthrough in new plans grey water disinfection for sustainable buildings.
The design team has been awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant from NSF’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation’s 2010 Science in Energy and Environmental Design (EFRI-SEED) program for engineering sustainable buildings.
The multi-disciplinary research team consists of Lee, Maria-Paz Gutierrez, assistant professor of architecture in UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and Slawomir Hermanowicz, a UC Berkeley professor of civil engineering.
Together, the researchers are testing a new water-recycling system for a building system, designed for application in multi-story apartments. The recycling system couples the solar disinfection of grey water from kitchen sinks, showers, or laundries with thermal storage for energy management and light transmission control.
The system uses Lee’s biologically inspired artificial compound eye lenses – a system of micro-optic lenses on exterior building walls that links the grey water disinfection process to radiant floor heating via a lightweight, thin membrane. The biologically-inspired compound solar lenses, or “eyes,” have self-regulating fields of view for enhanced light absorption of up to about 150 degrees, and the lenses are contained inside a thin film that is applied to the walls.
Read more about their research at the UC Berkeley News Center.