FM newsroom – sustainability, trends. The search to utilize the sun as an energy source has been constant throughout the years. The discovery of the photovoltaic effect and its application have paved the way for solar panels. The latest innovations are already questioning the idea of what a solar panel looks like and where it can be installed.
Building Integrated Photovoltaic facade
By adopting new approaches to harnessing renewable resources, we are witnessing a significant shift in building conception and design. This is where Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) facade systems emerge as an option to achieve a sustainable built environment, as Arch Daily points out.
Obtaining energy from the sun through solar panels has become one of the most widely used sources contributing to a transition to clean energy. This trend drives the development of new technologies like SolarLab facade systems. The latest innovations are challenging the idea of what a solar panel looks like and where it can be installed.
A new alternative to traditional cladding
In contrast to solar panels BIPV facade systems are a new alternative to traditional cladding materials. They offer a high degree of design flexibility, providing a wide variety of customizable options in terms of colour, finish, texture, shapes, and sizes. Additionally, they are presented as a sustainable and recyclable (up to 96%) option.
The latest BIPV systems, like SolarLab’s facade, can seamlessly be integrated for on-site electricity production with aesthetic flexibility. The rain screen protects the structure, enhancing durability and reducing operating costs. The curtain wall system replaces panels and glazing on the facade while generating electricity. Louvers are installed on the facade, offering an effective solution for controlling solar radiation and creating light and shade effects. The versatility of each of these systems makes them suitable for both new construction and retrofits, with low carbon emissions.
Sustainability means thinking beyond operational costs
To achieve carbon neutrality, architects and stakeholders must think beyond minimizing operational costs. They also have to consider the environmental investment in materials and construction. In this collaborative process, CAD and BIM tools can help, making it easier for designers to incorporate BIPV facades into the design.
As an alternative to new construction, retrofit projects are gaining relevance in a more sustainable future. They are becoming increasingly common and looking for proposals that not only optimize resources but also present aesthetic solutions. BIPV facade systems offer a significant opportunity in these projects to reduce CO₂ emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.
With 85% to 95% of the European building stock still expected to be in use by 2050, it is imperative to address retrofitting with a sustainable approach. Solar facade systems offer promising scope for action in the green transition, given that buildings account for a high percentage of global energy consumption.