Energy producing buildings
In order to optimise sustainable building in the future, buildings should no longer be seen as mere energy saving, or energy efficient structures. New technologies enable us to go beyond this and to change buildings into energy producing objects.
The new Dutch Solar Design PV Modules combine high performance with a highly aesthetic appearance, enabling the application of solar power on a much larger scale; not only as a rooftop coverage, but as a cladding material for the facade, or the entire envelope of buildings. Transforming all buildings - from housing blocks to big urban mixed-use buildings, city halls and shopping malls, or even infrastructural works such as bridges and sound barriers - into actual power plants.
By providing a new surface finish and appearance, Dutch Solar Design changes PV modules from sustainable, yet somewhat disruptive elements, into a recognisable construction material with endless possibilities – capable of adding design value to the appearance of buildings. The first product developed in this new range of materials is the Solar Brick – a high tech PV module with a printed pattern representing the characteristics of bricks, thereby combining tradition with innovative technology. This is one of the many possible examples of how PV modules may evolve in the future.
DSD PV modules have, like normal PV modules, a layered build-up structure. The special design layer is integrated to assure high durablity. DSP-PV makes use of novel back-contact solar cells but also conventional H-pattern solar cells can be used. The back panel is specially designed for façade integration. To maintain energy output, a patented dot printing software technology was created by UNStudio’s research platform and partner companies. This technology is capable of translating images into a setup of dots of different coverage ratios, controlling colour, contrast, brightness and a degree of randomness in the final effect. Based on the principle of rasterisation, the dot pattern plays with the perception of the human eye: zooming in, one can discern the separate dots, zooming out, the dots are perceived as one amalgamated image. This revolutionary dot pattern technique enables the optimisation of energy output without compromising creative freedom and artistic expression.
UNStudio has supported UNSense in developing architectural strategies to provide a range of design choices, not only for use in their own projects, but also for other architects. A predefined toolbox offering standardised designs and standardised rasterisation coverages is available to apply these design principles. Pilot projects have been initiated and will be developed in the coming months.