James, P.A.B., Jentsch, M.F. and Bahaj, A.S.
Quantifying the added value of BiPV as a shading solution in atria
Solar Energy, 83, (2), . (doi:10.1016/j.solener.2008.07.016).
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Building integration of photovoltaics (PV) has long been acknowledged as a key application for PV in developed countries. The avoided use of comparably priced alternatives such as polished or cut stone in commercial facades enables PV to be applied often at little or no additional cost. The use of semi-transparent PV modules within commercial atria represents an interesting application in this respect as they can be used to replace traditional shading solutions which often have a high maintenance burden. However, compared to standard double glazing, an element incorporating either mono or poly crystalline PV cells in a glass–glass construction comes at a cost premium. To justify such an application there must be significant added value in the PV solution.
This paper critically appraises a semi-transparent PV atrium which links two administration buildings at the University of Southampton, enclosing the main campus reception desk. Choosing PV laminates for the atrium roof has multiple benefits for the building users and the wider University, such as electricity generation, solar shading, environmental and technology statements, enhanced comfort and prestigious office workspace. This paper compares alternative shading solutions for the atrium and discusses user perception of the building and the atrium’s impact on their personal workspace. It is shown that PV in commercial atria does not always have to be considered as a ‘luxury’ option. With appropriate consideration of added value factors its selection can be justified in terms of both cost and carbon footprint.
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