Air pollution is becoming a major issue for people all over the UK, and the problem gets worse in summer when sunlight reacts with nitrogen dioxide in traffic pollution to form ozone – the cause of summertime smog. So in an attempt to find relief, a growing number of people are turning to air purifiers to cleanse the air they breathe.
Air purifiers use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which traps microscopic airborne pollutants, allergens and even bacteria and viruses. HEPA filters are incredibly effective at removing irritants and harmful particles from the air and some smart air purifiers can even sense the level of pollution in your home, increasing or decreasing power accordingly – just like the thermostat on your heating system.
Solar panels have become a common sight in fields, on offices and factories, and fixed to the roofs of houses. The ‘engine’ of a solar panel is the photovoltaic (PV) cell, which in simple terms is two slices of semi-conducting material – basically a silicon sandwich. When a beam of sunlight hits the silicon, it generates a tiny flow of electrons from one slice to the other – an electric current. The electric current from each cell passes through a solar converter which transforms it into ‘alternating current’ – the type of electricity that powers all your home’s devices.
PV cells quietly do their stuff all day long – they don’t even need bright sunshine. And if you don’t need the energy they’re generating right away, it'll be fed into the National Grid. This acts like an electricity bank account – your solar panels deposit energy when you have a surplus, and when you need more electricity, you can take some back.
Heat reflective windows
Sunlight contains both heat and light energy, and regular glass allows both to pass through more-or-less freely. Which means that in summer, rooms with a lot of natural light can quickly become uncomfortably hot. Sure, you can draw the blinds or curtains to stay cool, but then you’re left in the dark. So the smart (and cool) solution is to install heat reflective glass.
Heat reflective glass is usually part of a double-glazed unit, with a super-thin metallic layer applied to the outside of the inner pane. A microscopic film of zinc, copper or tin allows visible light to pass through, but it reflects most of the harmful ultraviolet radiation (which causes sunburn) and the infrared radiation (which carries most of the heat). Heat reflective glass is great in winter too, because it reflects energy from your heating system back indoors, instead of allowing it to escape through the windows.