No More Wasting the Sun

Many people have been saying that we are on the downfall of peak oil, which is a main contributor to our energy in the world. Next to coal and natural gas, we have no other massive amount of energy we can harvest…. or do we? Many of you know of alternative forms of energy that scientists have been researching for a long time. These include, but are not limited to, solar energy, hydro, and wind energy. As many talking heads have told us, these technology innovations are expensive and don’t produce enough energy for it to be a viable source. So far, this is true. The technology is expensive to research and manufacture. But what if there were an easy way to harvest an energy that goes wasted every year?

What I am talking about is solar energy. Many engineers are showing the public that there is basically only one way to harvest this energy form the sun. Using solar panels. But recent innovations and discoveries have shown that we can use many forms of glass to help harvest energy. Since most of the ENTIRE world uses glass in buildings, and buildings are literally everywhere, can you imagine if every window in every building had photovoltaic properties? What if all of our energy was harvested from the sun and we didn’t even need fossil oils? I believe that in the near future, this is a possibility, and by near future, I mean the next 50 years.

It would be so beneficial if all new buildings were required to put photovoltaic windows into their buildings. If this conversion from standard windows started now, and continued in the future, so much could be harvested. Companies such as OnyxSolar have made great innovations in building integrated photovoltaics, which can be used for the replacement of conventional construction materials from different parts of the building’s exterior such as skylights, façades, windows, curtain walls or roofs.

My opinion is that as a society, we have to push for this energy movement. If companies see that they can benefit from society rising up to help out the planet, they will start making easier innovations into free energy solutions. This will then spur a competition in the market, and someday, these technologies will be affordable for everyone.

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One comment

  1. wang1139

    As I was reading, I instantly remembered a material that I researched from our first project concerning solar panels. It is relatable to your photovoltaic windows. However, instead of thinking of the windows, the facade is taken into consideration. I was intrigued because the solar panels were unlike any conventional solar panel design, taking solar shading and day lighting to a whole new level, a controllable system like no other. The solar panels do not just cover a portion of the building rather the entire facade. This adaptive and dynamic building design allows individuals to have a relationship with the environment. “Parts of the building think, move, react, and adapt to real time conditions” (construction specialties inc). In other words, the facade can continuously change without hesitation, creating a new look anytime and however often. The aesthetics do not have to be lost. The Keifer Technic showroom, an Austrian Metal Company, has taken this new technology and demonstrated its full potential. They solar panels are made of perforated aluminum and the facade changes every hour. It can also adapt to changing conditions as well when needed. As said in the article I read, big idea! I agree, but aren’t we always suppose to think big!? In order to benefit our climate we need to think of it from the start, not as an afterthought. Your discussion of photovoltaic windows does just that as well. I believe that both technologies are examples of taking an innovative design, rethinking it, and producing an even more innovative idea. Like you said, we have to push for this energy movement and I agree. So far Germany and other countries are applying dynamic facades, but what if the United States started to? A new trend may emerge and newer ideas my rise as well.

    Sources:

    http://www.archdaily.com/71450/adaptive-and-dynamic-buildings-%E2%80%93-the-future-of-environmental-design-architecture/

    Watch the video!

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