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Research project aims to control sunlight, extend growing season and conserve energy
Date:1/9/2008

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland Botanical Garden and Kent State Universitys Liquid Crystal Institute - recognized internationally as the pioneering scientific center for research in the field - today announced a partnership to design and construct unique research greenhouses on the Gardens campus.

By combining the expertise of the Garden and the University, the partnership could, in effect, control sunlight, extending the plant growing season and conserving energy.

The overarching goal of this research is to determine liquid crystals potential for creating more sustainable, energy-efficient greenhouses. Researchers at Kent have developed liquid crystal windows that switch to different shading. These windows cab be used to manipulate sunlight entering a greenhouse, thereby controlling the temperature and even light wavelengths entering the greenhouse to more efficiently grow commercial and food plants, extending the growing season.

Cleveland Botanical Garden and Kent State will launch a series of studies over the next two to three years that will focus on optimizing the system design that incorporates liquid crystal window technology in greenhouses. They will study and develop these windows for use on exterior surfaces with more extreme challenges of intense light and heat. While Kent research have previously investigated these windows for exterior applications they have only been used commercially for on interior spaces.

This initiative, says Natalie Ronayne, the Gardens executive director, speaks to our ongoing commitment to sustainability and conservation. The energy crisis and corresponding global climate change issues call for increasing partnerships to contemplate alternatives, educate the public, and push ourselves to maximize our energy conservation and minimize our footprint on the earth.

The Gardens leadership embarked upon this project as part of its long-range conservation plan and in response to the ene
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Contact: Scott Rainone
srainone@kent.edu
Kent State University
Source:Eurekalert

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