Problem Addressed

How to lower the environmental impact of the construction industry, and buildings in operation, by replacing traditional claddings with energy producing facades.

Solution Overview

By replacing traditional inactive façade materials with a cladding that produces energy, the façade becomes an asset that can offset the environmental footprint of the building. SolarLab have shown this is possible on two demonstration projects in Norway where the investment in materials, construction and operation are anticipated to be recouped over the next 60 years through the buildings façade- and roof-integrated solar technology.

This solution has a uniquely high design freedom that allows for customisation of panelisation and mounting geometry in addition to colour, finish and texture of the façade. SolarLab can help achieve this without loosing the architectural qualities of our build environment and can invisibly integrate the high efficiency PV technology in both renovation projects and new builds.

The façade is expected to recoup both environment and financial investment in a couple of years (depending on local energy mix, prices and mounting location), but as the façade has a functional life of well over 50 years it can repay the investment many times over.

Generally the marginal cost of SolarLab’s BiPV façade over a more traditional medium class cladding is comparable to or lower than the investment in a low-cost stand alone roof PV. Offering bespoke solutions means that upfront pricing ranges depending on complexity and scope, but generally a complete façade system above 1000m2 (including custom cladding- and electrical system) falls in the 350£/sqm to 575£/sqm range. This relatively broad price range  reflects the design freedoms of the BiPV façade systems, which allow architects to not only tailor colour, finish and texture of the cladding, but also provides complete freedom to panellise the façade with many or few size variants, a range of mounting geometry options from flat to individually tilted panels, as well as a tailored electrical system to ensure optimal production and resiliency even on complex architectural volumes with many self and context shadows.

Case Study

The Copenhagen International School: 12.000 custom panels are fitted making this one of the worlds larges and most iconic BiPV projects. The façade provides around 50% of the schools energy needs. The identical panels are individually tilted and due to the structural colour coating this induces a beautiful colour shift in the façade that changes over the day and year as the sun moves.

The Student Experience International Building: located in Amsterdam with a 3000 panel façade providing a similar visual experience.

The PowerHouse and the ZEB-Lab: located in Norway, both are ZEB-COM houses that recoup the entire environmental investment in materials, construction and operation over the next 60 years thanks to the building-integrated solar cells.

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