Can windows filled with water help you heat and cool your home?

Originally published at: Can windows filled with water help you heat and cool your home? | Boing Boing


The music in that video makes me want a 1990s style JRPG scored by Tori Amos


So how affordable is it?




With all this energy ending up in the water in the summertime:

How do they get rid of that energy. It looks like they’ve just changed the problem from cooling space into cooling the water.

Also, it looks like this is going to be one hell of a job to keep clean. If any algae or bacteria get into this system, loads of warm water and sunlight is going to turn your windows into biofilm city.


i know this is so gay of me to say tori amos GIF

Tori all the things!


I think they dump the heat into parts of the house that don’t get huge solar gain. That is, by circulating the warm water they even out the temperature of the building. I suppose if you didn’t want the heat at all, some kind of heat exchange could be built in?

Regarding biofilms, this could be dealt with the same way it is in the water features of the faux-public spaces in modern housing developments - add bleach.


As someone who lives in a place where it can get down to -35 at times and whose double pane windows get frost on the inside at below zero temps, I really hope they have figured out an antifreeze for their invention.


Putting a heat-conductive material between the glass in winter seems like a mistake.


What was wrong with the water on the roof (solar panels)?

Windows (especially ones on the opposite side of the house) seem like an arbitrary and wasteful way to manage heating/cooling unless they directly reduce the sun patch (that my cats love).

It would be wiser to use shutters or something that are angle-adjustable on the exterior of the home.


It’s a cool idea that I imagine will lead to a water damage all around your windows, eventually.


Think heat pump technology.

The water is a MUCH more efficient heat transfer mechanism than air. Have each window absorb the heat, run it through a small heat pump exchanger and output the thermal energy into a water heater tank. I could see a net-win with lower AC costs and lower water heating costs offsetting the slightly increase pump and heat pump costs. But whether that break even is feasible is an exercise for better data and lots of math.

Oh, and the system would have to be a completely sealed system using distilled water in the windows. No algae growth.


Absolutely. New technological solutions get attention and headlines but there are so many ways that building science has advanced that the market hasn’t even caught up with. Legislation to build new homes and commercial buildings with recommended insulation levels are pretty recent, and the books written about those are from the 70s. That’s to say nothing of modern paint-on air-sealing and higher-pane-count windows. You can do a lot with just properly sizing your windows for seasonal sun exposure. Building is a (c)onservative business,and change is a marathon, not a sprint.


But what do you once a seal fails and life finds a way? What if you can’t find the seal failure?


Exactly. Not a question of “if”, but when. Failure modes have to be considered.

Which is more common - an entire home in which not one of the windows ever cracks or suffers an impact, or the usual things happen that affect glass windows?

I’d write this one off as infeasible.


As does filling glass panels with a liquid that will solidify, swell up and shatter the window if it ever gets below 0°C.


Great marketing angle! They can now sell it as the 21st century version of sea monkeys!


Looking at the video thumbnail, this glass appears to be intended for use in commercial applications using triple-paned glass, so not too likely to see this in a residential application.
Speaking as someone who works in the commercial glazing industry, I can say I sincerely hope this never gets off the ground and becomes a real product for so many reasons.


Yet another system of water-filled pipes inside a building with dozens and dozens of joints, any one of which failing would cause water damage in the structure. (Or, at best, fogging over the window.) And, as mentioned before, really you want your windows to be an ideal insulating barrier to the outside, not deliberately allowing heat into them (from one side or the other).

Sign Me Up!


All of the potential-failure analysis above appreciated.

I see one main potential additional benefit: tint water, add a fogging agent (squid ink?) or bubbles to provide on-demand privacy screens/shades without additional in-the-house hardware.


That when you fill it with fish to eat all the algae.

We’ll have a solution to the fish poop in version 2.0.