Building Integrated Photovoltaics

Renewable energy brought down from the roof

Written by: Alexa Stone

Solar panels are most often seen on rooftops. That hasn’t changed. The difference today is the variety of materials and the variety of places where they can be installed.

Solar shingles

Tesla has been selling solar roof tiles since 2017. On homes, those tiles provide an attractive alternative to the common 60 or 72-cell solar panels while also filling-in for asphalt shingles.

Commercial and Industrial (C&I) panels, many with 96 or more cells each, are most often placed on factory roof space, Popular alternatives include the solar carports seen at the perimeter of parking lots, and the covered walkways leading into C&I buildings. Ground-mounted solar arrays are part of the landscape at many facilities.[1]

Those options are just the beginning!

MORE MATERIALS

The first solar cells, invented in 1883, contained selenium that was coated with a thin layer of gold. They were installed on a New York City rooftop the next year.[2]

After more than a century, a variety of materials have enabled more installations. Crystalline silicon cells are now most common. They may be contained in double-glass panels or formed into a thin film. Some, though crystalline, are amorphous. Others are dye sensitized.

Solar roof

MORE PLACES

Crystalline silicon also provides renewable energy for contemporary architecture, generating solar power through Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). BIPV panels can be applied wherever there is sunlight. Some panels may be opaque, like shingles. Other installations require varied degrees of transparency: everything from curtain wall exteriors to skylights and windows.

Today, flexible modules with cells made of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) can be mounted directly onto the building envelope substrate.[3] They are designed to deliver power, even while protecting the building interior from wind and rain and allowing natural light to shine in. Exposure to direct light is optimal, but not required.

Cost considerations

As an emerging technology, BIPV brings technical and regulatory challenges. The products must meet requirements for building materials and for electrical materials. In some cases, building codes would have to be modified before installing it.

Until BIPV is manufactured in greater volume and more tradespeople are familiar with it, up-front costs of material and labor are likely to be high.[4]

SOURCES:

[1] EnergySage.com
[2] SmithsonianMag.com
[3] PV-Magazine.com — CIGS cells
[4] DBC.ca

Tags

Copyright © 2021 ecoPreserve. All Rights Reserved.

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.