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This is an interesting way to make a thermal wall for those really sunny windows in your home. I really like the idea of adding plants to the water, but I am not sure how they will break down over time, it might turn into a mess. [Thanks gnomic]

Learn more about making a Thermal WaterWall

Marc de Vinck

I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


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Comments

  1. samuel gamlin says:

    but man that woman drinks alot of water and with kids thats just not practical one stray arm or ball and you have a whole load of glass to clean up

  2. Björn says:

    I think that putting flowers, grass, etc. into the bottles would get very messy. Especially if you cover a whole window like that there’s a lot of bottles with a lot of stuff in it, and you’d have to refresh bottles constantly. If you want to filter the light, putting in something unorganic might be a better idea. You could also sand the bottles so they’d be frosted, or paint them with a somewhat translucent paint.

    And like Samuel points out, some extra support to prevent the bottles from falling out of the frame might be a good idea.

  3. Javier says:

    Finally – A use for all those vodka bottles laying around!

    Seriously though, won’t the water turn green after a while?

  4. Marc de Vinck says:

    @samuel

    That’s a lot of non-environmentally friendly bottled water.

    But, you could always get the bottles from other sources.

  5. Dr. Pain says:

    I’m dubious about any thermal benefits. This doesn’t do anything to reduce the solar gain of your house. Adding thermal mass (which is what this does) might shift some heat load into the evening, but is that really desirable?

  6. dnny says:

    if you want to use the same botles she uses,it will be quite expensive to fill a window.

    take a look on VOSS water prices:
    http://www.aquamaestro.com/innerview.asp?catid=33#

  7. morelightmorelight.com says:

    Dr. Pain – You are going to see benefits on windows that are really bright and hot. Those windows help your house get hot during the summer day – but then your ac runs. If you let this water absorb some of the energy of the sun rays your AC doesn’t run so much during the day.

    Those same hot summer days can become very cold summer nights. When the sun goes down the hot water bottles can release heat slowly into the same room.

  8. Scott M says:

    This is a neat idea, but remember it will only work in certain climates.

    Here in Texas in the summer, it’s hot during the day AND at night. So you want to keep the sun out all the time, not shift the heat to the evening.

    But I can see this working in the northern latitudes.

  9. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Aside from the impracticality of changing slimy plant parts out of the water bottles every few days, wasting immense amounts of water, using one-use bottles that could have been avoided totally (jelly jars would have been a better bet) the setting for the video really bugged me.

    Is it necessary to show a massive kitchen set with cabinets full of stuff in a segment about sustainability and reducing energy use?

    It’s really hard to watch someone preaching about ecology with their great big pile of consumer stuff in the background.

  10. Carpespasm says:

    As others said already, this doesn’t do you any good if it’s hot day and night, and I would think some food coloring would be a better way to tint the light so you don’t have to change the muddy slime the organic, native, all natural grass clippings would turn into along with the assumably dozens of gallons of water that one window would have.

    Though the idea itself might be beneficial in some places, this video seems like greenwashing to me. The top dollar glass water bottles, and green buzzword laden dialog drove me nuts.

    If you really want to improve on how much a south facing window hurts you on ac use then cover it over with something reflective, and for better appearance than tin foil you could Martha Stewart some patterns into it or use mirrors facing outward and a poster on the inside.

  11. suidae says:

    I think that this is interior design labeled as sustainability in order to sell itself.

    If you’re will to spend that much on designer water bottles, skip the bottles and replace the glass with low solar heat gain glass.

    Either way, if you really care you’d turn off the AC (or keep it no lower than 85F) and find some appropriate activities for those times of the day.

  12. acidrain69 says:

    Um, safety anyone? Aren’t you supposed to have 2 entrances to any room? If you board up your window, how are you going to get out in an emergency?

    In response to some of the other comments, yes, it’s green washing for the Martha Stewart set. Pretty, but certainly not any better than a good set of blinds that will just block the light anyway. I live in South Florida. It gets damn hot and humid here during the summer. Even with the blinds closed, there is plenty of light creeping around the edges to see indoors.

    Also I’m dubious on the whole water trapping the heat thing; does the thermal energy really transfer into the water that well? Oh, yeah, with the plants it does. But what about just the water? Doesn’t the whole white reflects/black absorbs thermal energy thing apply? Wouldn’t transparent water let most of the thermal energy through anyway?

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