believe that multifunction is elegant and economical. For example,
by installing a piece of solar glass in a facade, you pay for the
material once, and have it serve two functions - in this
case, as cladding and power generator.
|underside of bocas
lab PV roof - energy generation, daylighting, and rainwater collection
Building surfaces - roofs and
facades - offer great integrative opportunities since they are inherently
multifunctional. Like a biological skin, building skins provide shelter
from weather, thermal insulation, admit light and views, provide
access and security.
In most buildings, the relationship between
a building skin and natural elements (the sun, rain and wind) is
essentially defensive and negative, as evidenced by words like weather proof,
water repellent, etc. In many cases, however, it is possible for
the building skin to work positively with or leverage natural elements,
by harvesting energy, collecting rainwater, by providing living habitat
or growing food.
Our earliest work in the 1980s involved developing some
of the world's first building integrated photovoltaic applications.
Originally, these were projects to showcase the products of
solar manufacturers. but we found that solving specific technical
problems related to solar technology brought other benefits to the
buildings. By extension, optimizing applications for a solar
panel led to opportunities in daylighting, sun control,
thermal harvesting, etc.
Plants are solar devices too, and in recent years we have become
interested in ways to integrate living elements into buildings.
Green roofs, living walls, and integrated food production have enormous
potential for multiple, integrated benefits to buildings and the
people who occupy them, in terms of energy, water, air quality, nutrition,
habitat creation, and psychological health. And many of these technologies
can work together, as in a green roof which includes rainwater collection
and photovoltaic generation.
integrated energy >
integrated landscape >
integrated agriculture >