Briefs: Evaporating tiles to cool rooms

UK Loughborough University's Zephyr project "Ceiling tiles" was finalist in the Financial Times Climate Change Challenge. The tiles draw up heat from a room which passes through a moist wick surface in the ceiling tile, achieving cooling lowering the temperature of the tile as well as in the room as a whole. An added benefit of the system is that the wick surface does not clog or degrade. A low ceiling incorporating these tiles can be easily installed and requires little maintenance or the costs associated with this. The system can be used both in conjunction with existing cooling systems and as a stand-alone cooling method. Test results have shown significant energy reduction in both instances: overall energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50% when used in conjunction with existing air conditioning systems. The figure grows to a 95% when installed as a stand-alone system. The investigators of the project hope to have a finished product on the market in 2010.