Professor’s Microalgae Façade Project Featured in Conference Panel

images of microalgae facade research
Monday, December 7, 2020
Kyoung Hee Kim will join a panel in the Façade Design + Construction Southeast conference.

Associate Professor of Architecture Kyoung Hee Kim will join a panel in the Façade Design + Construction Southeast conference, to be held virtually on December 15. In the presentation, “Fabrication Futures: Pushing the Envelope in the Southeast,” Dr. Kim will speak about developments in the microalgae façade research that she and her interdisciplinary team, which includes a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, have been studying since 2012.

Carried out through the Integrated Design Research Lab (IDRL), Dr. Kim’s research investigates the use of microalgae in high-performance building envelope design. Incorporated into windows, screens filled with microalgae provide carbon sequestration, solar shading, and thermal insulation. The algae can also be collected and converted into biofuel, producing a renewable energy source.

In May, the IDRL team received a Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I (STTR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the commercial development of the research. It was the latest of several research grants the project has received, including a 2017 AIA Upjohn Research Initiative Grant ($30,000) and a 2019 NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) grant ($50,000).

Since the summer, the team has carried out critical testing of structural integrity and water leakage and has begun the process of full-scale mock-ups to conduct field measurements of energy performance and indoor air quality.

Façade + conferences focus on the design and performance on the next generation of façades, bringing together researchers and industry professionals. Façade Design + Construction Southeast, co-chaired by The Architect’s Newspaper and Perkins&Will, highlights exemplary case studies and emerging trends across the southeastern region of the United States. The School of Architecture is a partner, and UNC Charlotte architecture faculty and students receive a 20% discount on registration