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.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Pauline van Dongen, Ellen Britton, Anna Wetzel, Rogier Houtman, Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, Stephanie Ramos
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors or their institutions retain copyright to their publications without restrictions.
Ahriz, A., Mesloub, A., Djeffal, L., Alsolami, B.M., Ghosh, A. & Abdelhafez, M.H.H. (2022). 14The Use of Double-Skin Façades to Improve the Energy Consumption of High-Rise Office Buildings in a Mediterranean Climate (Csa). Sustainability, 6004. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106004
Architecture 2030 (2022). Retrieved from https://architecture2030.org/why-the-building-sector/
ASCA® (2021). Material Datasheet. Retrieved from https://www.asca.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Generic_data_sheet_EN.pdf?_ga=2.93076637.1039473980.1650881177-712994063.1650881177&_gac=1.260318847.1650892409.CjwKCAjwjZmTBhB4EiwAynRmD8r6dylg0HQShJX32ohvUv-IErD-wWEOM6f5YJqYG8lx8aMC3E_EQBoCBv8QAvD_BwE
ASCA®, Efficiency Increase (2021). Asca increases performance of Organic Solar cells by integrating new semiconductors Retrieved from https://en.asca.com/latest-news/asca-increases-performance-of-organic-solar-cells-by-integrating-new-semiconductors
ASCA®, EPBT (2021). Focus on the Energy Payback Time of the Asca Film. Retrieved from https://en.asca.com/latest-news/focus-on/focus-of-the-energy-payback-time-of-the-asca-film
Barney, D., & Szeman, I. (2021). Solarity, an edition of South Atlantic Quarterly. Duke University Press.
Buitink (2020). Westraven Façade cladding. Retrieved from https://www.buitink-technology.com/uk/architecture/facade-coverings/westraven-facade-cladding
Clean Energy Review (2022). Most efficient solar panels in 2022. Retrieved from https://www.cleanenergyreviews.info/blog/most-efficient-solar-panels
Current Results. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Netherlands/sunshine-annual-average.php
Dolara, A., Leva, S., Manzolini, G., Simonetti, R. & Trattenero, I. (2022). Outdoor Performance of Organic Photovoltaics: Comparative Analysis. Energies 2022, 15, 1620. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15051620
Dongen, P. (2019). A Designer’s Material-Aesthetics Reflections on Fashion and Technology. Doctoral Thesis Eindhoven University of Technology. ArtEZ Press
European Commission. 2022. EU Solar Energy Strategy. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=COM:2022:221:FIN
European Union Buildings Factsheet. (2013). Energy usage. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/energy/eu-buildings-factsheets_en
Fan, Z., De Bastiani, M., Garbugli, M., Monticelli, C., Zanelli, A,. & Caironi, M. (2013). Experimental investigation of the mechanical robustness of a commercial module and membrane-printed functional layers for flexible organic solar cells. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1359836816308216
Hendriks, J. (2010). Greening Modernism, Westraven Tower, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Research Papers. Retrieved from https://global.ctbuh.org/resources/papers/download/325-greening-modernism-westraven-tower.pdf
Horn, S., Bagda, E., Brandau, K., & Weller, B. (2018). Einfluss der Bauwerkintegrierten Photovoltaik in Fassaden bei der energetischen Bilanzierung von Gebäuden (Teil 1). Bauphysik. [Influence of building-integrated photovoltaics in facades on the energy balance of buildings (Part 1). building physics] 40, 68–73. doi:10.1002/bapi.201810007. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bapi.201810007
Hurenkamp, A. (2020). TexEnergie: solar cells and textiles as a match made in heaven. Retrieved from: https://www.saxion.nl/nieuws/2020/12/texenergie-zonnecellen-en-textiel-als-een-match-made-in-heaven
Klem, J.R.D. (2006). Glass: a deadly conservation issue for birds. Bird Observer 34(2), 73-81
KNMI Klimatologie, Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut. (2020). Retrieved from: https://www.knmi.nl/klimaat-viewer/kaarten/zon/gemiddelde-zonneschijnduur/september/Periode_1991-2020
IEA (2020). World Energy Outlook 2020, IEA, Paris. Retrieved from: https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2020
Kuhlmann, J.C., de Moor, H.H.C., Driesser, M.H.B., Bottenberg, E, Spee, C.I.M.A. & Brinks, G.J. (2018). Development of a Universal Solar Energy Harvesting System Suited for Textile Integration Including Flexible Energy Storage. Journal of Fashion Technology & Textile Engineering S4:012. doi: 10.4172/2329-9568.S4-012
Mather, R. R. & Wilson, J. I. B. (2017). Fabrication of Photovoltaic Textiles. Coatings 7(5):63 doi:10.3390/coatings7050063
Methodspace (2021). Case Study Methodology. Retrieved from https://www.methodspace.com/blog/case-study-methodology
Middelhauve, L., Girardin, L., Baldi, F. & Maréchal, F. (2021). Potential of Photovoltaic Panels on Building Envelopes for Decentralized District Energy Systems. Frontiers in Energy Research, 15 October 2021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenrg.2021.689781
Nathanson, A. (2021). A History of Solar Power Art and Design. Part III 5. Textiles and Wearables. Routledge
Reinders, A. H. M. E., Lavrijssen, S., Folkerts, W., van Mierlo, B., Franco Garcia, L., Loonen, R. C. G. M., Cornelissen, H., Stremke, S., Alarcon Llado, E., Polman, A., & Weeber, A. W. (2020). Integration of solar energy systems for increased societal support. In Proceedings of 37th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) (pp. 1911-1914) Retrieved from: https://pure.tue.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/168282829/20_eupvsec_reinders.pdf
Sánchez-Pantoja, N.,Vidal, R., & Pastor, M. (2018). Aesthetic impact of solar energy systems. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 98. 227-238. 10.1016/j.rser.2018.09.021.
Satharasinghe, A.S., Hughes-Riley, T., & Dias, T. (2020) A Review of Solar Energy Harvesting Electronic Textiles. Sensors 20(20):5938 DOI:10.3390/s20205938 Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328043412_Aesthetic_impact_of_solar_energy_systems
Scheer, H. (2005). A Solar Manifesto. Routledge.
Shareef Al-Azzawi, Rana & Al-Alwan, Hoda. (2021). Sustainable Textile Architecture: History and Prospects. IOP Conference Series Materials Science and Engineering. 1067. 10.1088/1757-899X/1067/1/012046.
Smelik, A., Toussaint, L., & Van Dongen, P. (2016). Solar fashion: An embodied approach to wearable technology. International Journal of Fashion Studies, Vol 3, Nr 2, 1 October 2016
Steim, R., Ameri, T., Schilinsky, P., Waldauf, C., Dennler, G., Scharber, M., & Brabec, C.J. (2011). Organic photovoltaics for low light applications. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 95. 3256-3261. 10.1016/j.solmat.2011.07.011. Retrieved from:
System concepts (n.d). Design Thinking Introduction. Retrieved from https://www.system-concepts.com/insights/design-thinking-introduction/
TNO (n.d). Roadmap Renewable Electricity: Solar Panels in Façades. Retrieved from https://www.tno.nl/en/focus-areas/energy-transition/roadmaps/renewable-electricity/solar-energy/solar-energy-potential/solar-panels-facades/
UN Environment and International Energy Agency (2017). Towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector. Global Status Report 2017. Retrieved from https://www.worldgbc.org/sites/default/files/UNEP%20188_GABC_en%20%28web%29.pdf
USA Department of Energy (2022). Organic Photovoltaics Research. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/organic-photovoltaics-research
Van Hinte, E., & Beukers, A. (2020). Designing Lightness. Structures for Saving Energy. Nai010 Publishers
World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Accenture (2022). Fostering Effective Energy Transition. Retrieved from https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Energy_Transition_Index_2022.pdf