Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Can Lead to Net-Positive Construction

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Can Lead to Net-Positive Construction

The building construction industry currently accounts for 40% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, due to its high carbon embodiment and carbonated energy demands. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is a sustainable solution to address these concerns and to contribute to a net-positive world. This advanced technology can be utilized in solar building envelopes, skylights, windows, and balcony railings to produce green energy. 

BIPV technology can be applied to almost any built structure, such as high-rise buildings, stadiums, residential homes, bus stops, greenhouses, sidewalks, noise barriers, and much more. The large-scale use of this green energy-producing technology can accelerate our efforts against the growing climate crisis.

Mitrex Integrated Solar Technology is a Toronto-based BIPV manufacturer, offering integrated solar material such as solar façades, windows, roof, glass, railing and siding, that can be incorporated into any surface the sun touches.

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Courtesy of Mitrex

Solar technology has traditionally had a variety of design, sizing, and efficiency limitations. Typically, solar technology consists of blue/black panels that are noticeably featured on structures. Mitrex BIPVs acts as a solution to many of these issues and more. Specifically, Mitrex Solar Façade panels feature solar cells in between a customizable facing layer and a high-strength backing. This material allows for energy generation on the vertical façades of structures while being lightweight and durable. 

Customization - often such an important feature of materials - is one of the added benefits of these types of solutions, as they are completely customizable, providing clients with complete creative control. Clients may choose over a limitless range of patterns, designs and colors that can align with their creative vision. For crystal lovers, patterns such as Calcutta Marble and Azul Bahia Granite can be mimicked for use. For minimalistic lovers, the simplistic lines of wood and precast concrete can also be mimicked. 

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Courtesy of Mitrex

These products provide a colorful range that does not limit efficiency. The advanced, multi-layered coating process color treats solar glass, allowing for high solar transmittance as a minimal amount of sunlight is reflected off the material. The solar façade panels are UV-stable, fade-resistant, and its texture can be reflective or matte, depending on the client’s demands. An anti-soiling feature is also applied to this layer, ensuring dirt and dust can’t accumulate—this means the panels are self-cleaning while ensuring efficiency. 

Mitrex provides a solution to creative challenges but also to sizing limitations as well. Typical solar technology tends to be limited to a standard panel size, hindering architects’ creative control and reducing adoption. In this case, the solar cladding product is available in various sizes and shapes, including panels with minute differences.

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Courtesy of Mitrex

Because of the range of design options, ease of use, and sustainable power generation that this material offers, it makes for a favorable competitor to non-solar cladding material such as ACM and Precast Concrete. The advantages over ACM include the use of high-quality material, durability, strength and the available customizable features. In terms of Precast Concrete, Mitrex panels are lighter and easier to install in contrast, with a noticeably lower carbon footprint than traditional materials. In addition, Mitrex material is fade-resistant and can be seamlessly integrated into retrofit and new construction projects.

To halt the building industry’s contribution to the global climate crisis, it is important to continue to enforce restorative changes. Mitrex materials have the advantage of net-positive energy production, meaning that the energy it produces offsets the minimal carbon used in its production, reversing pollutive greenhouse gases from the environment. If net-positive solar material were to be used on a large enough scale, we could begin to restore the environment through the reversal of carbon emissions and transforming it into sustainable energy. 

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Courtesy of Mitrex

Using solar façade panels as small as 2 square meters on a south facing wall would produce enough energy to offset the carbon used to make the panel in only three years. After thirty years, approximately 730kg of carbon would be removed from the atmosphere. 

Mitrex Integrated Solar Technology is a leading global sustainable solution for architects and building owners. BIPVs can help heal the global climate crisis as well as provide the building industry with accessible, sustainable construction materials.

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Cite: "Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Can Lead to Net-Positive Construction" 29 Nov 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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