The architectural design and planning affect the ability of buildings to adapt to environmental constraints, and use them to their advantage, thus affecting energy usage. The Department of Man in the Desert and the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning Unit have been working for decades on bio-climatic, energy-conserving, green design and planning. Intelligent, sustainable design can significantly reduce a building's energy use from "cradle-to-grave", minimizing the ecological footprint, while providing a thermally, visually, acoustically and functionally comfortable and healthy indoor environment.
Energy Efficiency in Microelectronics
One way to conserve energy is to build devices that require less energy. BGU's enterprising young researchers are figuring out how to develop circuits and systems that run on low power.
Thermoelectrics as a direct energy conversion method between heat and electricity is mainly used for electrical power generation and cooling applications. One of its major applications consists of using thermal energy (or heat) for power generation. Another application is the use of electrical current for cooling. The benefits of thermoelectric cooling / power generation include: high reliability (>250,000 hours), silent and vibration-less operation, low volume, minimal maintenance, lightweight, low life cycle costs, no compressed gasses or chemicals and environmentally friendly.
Harvesting Biomechanical energy from human motion
With the increasing use of portable electronics, such as mobile phones, global positioning systems (GPS), and laptop computers, the need for mobile electrical power sources is increasing. However the operation time of these devices is limited by its battery's energy capacity. This limitation is very important for people that don't have access to an electrical grid, such as soldiers, people in the developing world and travelers in remote areas. For these people, electrical power for communication and/or navigation devices means safety. A promising clean alternative way of meeting the above-described need is to exploit the heat and motions generated by the human body to generate electrical energy.