Innovation That Matters

The façade of the building will feature panels with built-in solar-generation | Photo source Studio Kennon

Australian building to use a façade that generates solar power

Architecture & Design

A building under development in Melbourne will use novel façade panels that do not look like solar panels – but generate enough electricity to power the building

Spotted: One thing that most architects and planners are agreed on is that sustainability needs to be built into new construction right from the start. For non-residential construction firms, this is also imperative to their business growth, as the non-residential green building market is expected to hit $103 billion (around € 98 billion) by 2023. Australian architecture firm Studio Kennon knows this as well, and has recently designed a high-rise in Melbourne which will be able to power itself completely using solar power.

The building will accomplish this feat with a façade made up of 1,182 solar panels, as well as additional solar power on the roof. The façade will use innovative panels developed by German company Avancis that look more like ordinary exterior building glass than solar panels. In fact, each glass panel has the same thickness as an ordinary façade panel, but has thin-film solar cells built into each panel. The panels also come in a variety of colours – from dark grey to deep blue.

In addition to adding solar generation, solid panels were used on one wall to provide shade and reduce the use of air conditioning. The completed building will eventually be carbon negative – it will generate more renewable energy than it uses. The studio says the building will have offset the carbon used in its construction within a few years, and after that will be carbon negative.

According to architect Pete Kennon, there is added sustainability from the fact that the building generates its own energy. “The building is designed to be self-sustainable,” he says. “We can harness electricity on-site and use it immediately. This is very different to buildings that are offsetting their on-site power with remote solar or wind farms.” This could also help reduce strain on the grid.

Adding solar generation to new builds is just one of the ways that architects are creating more sustainable projects. At Springwise, we have seen some truly ground-breaking sustainable buildings – including plans for a zero-energy museum in South Korea and plans for a sustainable urban village in Scotland. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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