Bahaj, A. S., James, P. A. B. and Jentsch, M. F.
Photovoltaics: added value of architectural integration
Proceedings of ICE: Energy, 160, (2), . (doi:10.1680/ener.2007.160.2.59).
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The majority of people live and work in urban environments. If the common targets of substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the next few decades are going to be met, it is the urban environment where the change must happen. Building integrated photovoltaics (BiPV) is commonly seen as one appropriate measure to reduce urban carbon emissions through power generation and as an aid to behaviour change of occupiers to contribute to the goal of more sustainable cities. Solar photovoltaics are often applied as an ‘add-on’ solution to existing building structures in an aesthetically less than pleasing manner, representing a technological and environmental statement but not always a testament to good design. A more sensitive integration of photovoltaics into buildings (glazing, cladding, roofing or shading systems) can offer additional benefits by offsetting the costs for expensive materials such as high value cladding or by providing additional functions such as solar shading. There is no doubt that the uptake of solar technology by architects and designers can be facilitated by well designed solutions where the photovoltaic arrays form a unity with the building adding to its identity. The study presented here assesses basic forms of architectural integration of photovoltaic arrays into buildings and discusses the implications with regard to embodied energy, economics (excluding capital subsidies) and the impacts on a building’s carbon footprint.
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