Save heat with holes in the wall

Porous walls that allow fresh air into a building, remove pollution from the atmosphere and save energy are being developed by research engineers at Aberdeen University.

With 40% of heat lost through normal walls, porous walls might not seem like a good idea, but Dr Mohammed Imbabi, a researcher at the university’s engineering department, is certain that the walls — made of various new materials combined in layers designed to trap different sized particles — can reduce heat loss, and therefore energy costs, by around 10–15%.

exact details of the porous materials from which the permeable walls will be made are being kept under wraps by the team.

The permeable fabric could also allow moisture into the building, without the need to open windows.

The walls are claimed to be able to change the entire volume of air in a room once or twice an hour.

Using a technology without moving parts may seem surprising, but Imbabi points out that although air moves at low velocities, a wall’s huge surface area allows great volumes to be processed.

Research shows that pollution levels at existing industrial sites can be the same inside as outside, despite the illusion of relative safety within a building.