Living off the grid might not be as simple as slapping a few solar panels on a roof or side of a structure, but it definitely helps decrease those electricity bills. But if a person decides to add solar panels to a home, the way to do it? Though the panels have slimmed down in size and are making strides towards looking less solar-panel-like, most homeowners don’t want to listen to them. And incorporating them into an existing house requires some consideration and ability. What follows are a few examples of various ways solar panels are being incorporated into house design.
As soon as it’s a common practice to put solar panels on the roof, this multi-family project by Pb Elemental utilizes them overlooking the garden. In this instance it is important to coordinate with the panels together with the adjacent landscaping, therefore the latter does not block sunlight; differently the panels may be better suited to the roof.
What I like a lot about this program is that they way the solar panels do triple duty: They produce energy but they also color the inside space and discard water away in the operable garage-type doorway. Thanks to this canopy, the massive opening combines indoors and out even when it rains.
Sam Crawford Architects
The perfect orientation for solar panels would be southerly (in the northern hemisphere) and in an angle that takes advantage of the sun’s arc across the sky during the entire year. Thus the specific orientation and angle varies, but a scenario such as this photo predominates, because flat (flat roof) and vertical (wall socket ) programs don’t absorb enough of the sun’s rays to make them viable energy producers.
In an effort to learn more about the design of busy (solar panels, photovoltaics) and passive (direct solar heating) solar design, a Solar Decathlon is held each summer, inviting architecture schools to design and build a prototype home in a competition for the most”energy-efficient houses powered exclusively by sunlight.” Previously found in the National Mall in the nation’s capital — this year the competition will be held in nearby West Potomac Park — examples similar to this 2005 entrance from Cornell University illustrate what occurs when solar energy drives a design.
The east-west orientation of the National Restaurant signifies homes gesture towards the south to soak up the sun’s rays. In this case it is the roof that does the job in terms of active solar design. Photovoltaic panels can be found on the sides, but at the center is something different: a solar thermal system that uses sunlight to warm water circulated through pipes and tubes. This water is then utilized to heat water in a boiler, reducing the need for external energy to perform the same. One common application of this system is to assist heat pools.
In terms of passive solar design, the south-facing elevation has quite small glass: a couple small openings along with a folding glass wall. The latter lets sunlight into the living area and opens the space to the patio. The mainly wood cladding minimizes direct sunlight in the remainder of the home, thereby reducing the need for cooling the home in warm weather. Horizontal shades at the of each opening cut on direct summer sunshine.
Back in 2006 Workshop/apd won a competition for GREEN.O.LA, a competition co-sponsored by Brad Pitt as a part of his efforts for rebuilding New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. Their design comes with a shed roof outfitted with solar panels clipped to a standing-seam metal roof. Such as the Solar Decathlon home prior, this home lets sunlight create a part of its form.
David Vandervort Architects
Inside this project in Seattle, Wash., the solar panels are restricted to a small pop-up section of the home. It’s like the walls and roof are reaching towards sunlight and the sky, grabbing sunlight for electricity use. This part is angled from a portion of the home below to reap maximum advantage from the sun’s rays.
Feldman Architecture, Inc..
This last example departs from all the last designs, in the solar panels have been employed to flat skylights. House Ocho from Feldman Architecture has plenty of windows, yet this skylight assists daylight reach the profound center of the strategy.
Feldman Architecture, Inc..
The integration of photovoltaics into House Ocho’s glass skylight allows to get a filtering of the sunlight entering the spaces. This perspective also shows the way the grid of the PV panels are just like a microcosm of this bigger grids made by the wood and steel beams; aesthetics is still an issue in this simple application.
Fulcrum Structural Engineering
Last is an opinion of House Ocho’s skylights from out. Surrounding them is a green roofing. This illustrates that active solar design is typically 1 aspect of a larger embrace of sustainability, extending to factors of vegetation, water, biodiversity, etc.
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