For instance, the solar roof from Tesla provides a clean look for your house without having to bother installing standard-sized solar panels. But why limit yourself to the roof, when solar panels can make up the entire facade of your building? That’s what Australia-based design studio Kennon plans to do.
The solar facade
When a corner plot in Melbourne city’s central business district was up for renewal, the private developer approached the studio. Founder of the studio, Pete Kennon, who was researching glazing products being used in Europe, realized that photovoltaic cells embedded in glass would make for a good facade on the building while supporting its energy requirements.
After the developer was eager to set a precedent in the area, the design for a ‘solar facade’ got underway, and Kennon had to collaborate with glass panel manufacturers in Germany since nobody made the product in Australia.
Executives from the panel-making company, Avancis, flew down to Australia to help the designers maximize the power generation from the design and it was decided to place the panels on the northern facade.
Going where no Australian building has gone before
There was one major problem, though. The glass planes that Kennon planned to use did not have the necessary approvals from the building appeal board in the country. So, the studio partnered with a local construction fire safety company to test these panels. A replica of the facade was built and set to fire to study how the panels would respond to such an event. The data was carefully recorded and submitted to the competent authority to get the necessary approvals for construction using these panels.