weaving solar energy into building skin
Keywords:Textile architecture, solar textile, energy innovation, lightweight structures, BIPV
The key objective of this research project is to “create a new architectural textile, Suntex, by interweaving thin film solar cells and electrically conductive yarn into a structural technical textile, so it can generate energy while it is providing shade, structure or an aesthetic update to a building.”
Textile has strong potential as a sustainable building material because it can be lightweight, material efficiency and low carbon. Moreover, its flexibility provides great design freedom and its transparency makes it very suitable for façade applications, maintaining views to the outside while providing solar shading. Suntex is a solar textile, currently in development, intended for textile architecture applications like textile façades. By combining three qualities, namely providing the building with energy generation, solar shading and a unique aesthetic appearance, which also promotes the acceptance of solar technology, it offers a positive climate impact.
Suntex can be considered as a new type of membrane material for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). With this innovative, constructive fabric, enormous surfaces that are still unused can be outfitted with energy-generating potential.
This paper presents a design case to analyse the potential impact of Suntex as a textile façade. Based on insights into the development process and experiment results so far, it evaluates the feasibility and impact from a technical and design perspective.