Task 56
Task 56
SHC Task 56

Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems

Project (Task) Description

This Task will focus on the critical analysis, simulation, laboratory test and onsite monitoring of envelope systems entailing elements that use and/or control incident solar energy, having one or more of the following uses:

  • To deliver renewable thermal or/and electric energy to the systems providing heating, cooling and ventilation to buildings
  • To reduce heating and cooling demands of buildings, while controlling daylight

Technologies are considered that account for the specificity of the intervention on residential and tertiary buildings, both new-built and retrofitted.

Integration of Solar Envelope solutions into the building’s HVAC and lighting systems through a systemic approach is central in this Task.

Energy performance, indoor comfort and architectural integration are addressed all along the Task duration.

In the residential sector, solar thermal and PV systems are typically mounted on building roofs with limited attempt to incorporate them into the building envelope, creating aesthetic drawbacks and space availability problems. On the contrary, the use of facades is highly unexplored. Daylight control is delegated to the individuals’ management of blinds and curtains, leading to high thermal loads both during midseasons and summertime.

In the tertiary segment (offices, schools, hospitals), the roof is again, most of the time, the only surface devoted to the installation of solar thermal and PV technologies. While daylight control is now state of the art in terms of shading effect, the utilization of shading devices to also redirect natural light into the room, improving visual comfort at the same time, has still to be improved.

Moreover, when energy efficient technologies are installed together with traditional ones, frequently the first are just “added on top” of the main systems, thereby investment costs burst and performance are hardly optimised.

The Task will focus on solutions looking at the mass market through an industrialised integration of active components into envelope elements. This is believed to provide the lowest cost-to-benefit ratio by:

  • Optimising the installation and maintenance costs
  • Entailing optimised control and continuous monitoring
  • Providing reliable operation and predictable performance
  • Eventually ensuring that more than one function is covered among the ones stated above (multifunctional systems)
  • Substituting part of the backup system, instead of adding functionalities
  • Reducing primary energy use by optimising the yearly solar energy utilization.

Despite the focus on industrialised solutions, best practices in terms of customised solutions will be also analysed in an attempt to assess their performance and potential adoption on the market.

The strategic objective of the Task is to coordinate the research and innovation effort taking place within the scientific community and the private sector, towards the utilization of envelope integrated technologies.