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Photovoltaic: The Latest Architecture and News

Integrating Solar Technology into Facades, Skylights, Roofing, and Other Building Elements

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Climate change remains a foremost concern in global politics, economics, and scientific research, particularly as it pertains to the architecture and construction industries. This heightened culpability for the field of architecture stems from the fact that the construction industry contributes to 40% of global emissions, and the demand in the building sector is only projected to increase by 70% by 2050. Renewable energy is part of a 21st-century sustainability paradigm that responds to climate change and environmental degradation, strengthening the momentum for global energy transformation. Renewable energy production strategies are necessary to mitigate future energy security issues as traditional sources of fuel become increasingly scarce, and an indispensable part of designing for sustainability in architecture.

Solar Design: How Architecture and Energy Come Together

Solar design in contemporary architecture is rooted in the profession's sustainable turn. The relationship between architecture and energy is tied to both passive strategies and performance via more recent innovations in technology. As one way to begin addressing the global climate crisis and greenhouse gas emissions, solar design is reshaping cities and architecture around the world.

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How do Solar Tiles Work?

Solar tiles operate identically to the photovoltaic panels that are already widely used in construction. The primary difference between them lies in their assembly: whereas photovoltaic panels are attached to an existing roof, solar tiles are part of the roof's construction from the start, taking the place of regular tiling.

The tiles are formed by photovoltaic cells that, when they receive sunlight, create an electric field capable of providing electrical energy for use inside the building. Each tile is connected by cables to the power distribution board.

60 Storey Tower Maximizes Energy Capture with Photovoltaic Facade

Peddle Thorp Architects have submitted their proposal for the Moray Street Residential Tower in Melbourne for approval. At 1173.5 square meters, Sol Invictus is wrapped entirely in solar panels, attaining 10 times more solar surface area than a traditional roof covering. The facade can achieve up to 5000 square meters of solar panel array and is connected to a battery storage system.

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New Wave Architecture Designs Sustainable Office Building for Turbosealtech in Iran

Located in Pardis Technology Park in the suburbs of Tehran, the new Turbosealtech office by New Wave Architecture is a small, but complex building with a site of 1,300 square meters. Envisioned as an “incubator,” the project will provide a platform for people to research and innovate. Pardis Technology Park is made up of developments by young architects from Iran, and this project continues this pattern of expressing the vision of young Iranian architects through its design team. Read more about the project after the break.

This 3D-Printed Building by SOM is Powered by a 3D-Printed Car

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has unveiled their design for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL): a 3D-printed building powered by a 3D-printed vehicle developed by ORNL. Dubbed AMIE, the project was developed in collaboration with ORNL, University of Tennessee (UT), Clayton Homes, General Electric, Alcoa, NanoPore and Tru-Design. SOM was able to take the design from concept to completion in less than a year.

Combining mobile power with energy-efficient design and photovoltaic (PV) panels, the AMIE presents possibilities for human shelter off-the-grid. Following previous work by SOM, demonstrating the use of 3D printing for complex, organic geometries, the new building combines structure, insulation, air and moisture barriers, and exterior cladding into one shell.

This 3D Printed Pavilion Provides Shade During the Day and Illuminates at Night

The Solar Bytes pavilion, designed by assistant professor at Kent State University Brian Peters, is a temporary structure which highlights the potential of new techniques available to architecture: robotic arms, 3D printing, smart technologies such as lighting sensors, and solar energy.

Leveraging the strength and range of motion of a robotic arm, the pavilion was printed in three dimensions with an experimental extruder, resulting in a structure composed of 94 unique modules that capture energy during the day, and shine at night. After their initial function, the plastic modules making up the pavilion will be completely crushed and reused in a new structure.

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Ohio State Researcher Team Invents Combined Solar Cell and Battery

A new technology developed by researchers at Ohio State University has the potential to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of generating and storing the sun's energy. Led by professor of chemistry and biochemistry Yiying Wu, the team has created a combined solar cell and lithium storage battery with an efficiency of electron transfer between the two components of almost 100%, in a design which they believe will reduce costs by up to 25%.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”

Read on after the break for more on the news

Milan Design Week 2013: Energetic Energies for Panasonic / Akihisa Hirata

Envision a future where undulating “solar plants” transform the rectangular masses of our cities into a vibrant metropolis where technology aids in the coexistence of humans and nature. Represented in the conceptual installation “Energetic Energies” at the Milan Design Week 2013, this notion of redefining our relationship with the sky through photovoltaics is based on years of technological research and development by the Panasonic Corporation, who commissioned Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata to imagine the possibilities.

The exhibition features a 30 meter-long makeshift city, whose “hills” of photovoltaics overtake clusters of white, translucent buildings while shadows of clouds move in and out of the space. 

A video interview with Akihisa Hirata and more images after the break...