Dear BEST society,
Energy efficiency strategies are often hammered as ‘here and
now’ improvements... what might be on the horizon? As my fellow
interns have pointed out, energy efficiency is gaining interest and
support, prompting developments in new technologies.
Modern lighting and heating/air-conditioning systems are
imperative in new buildings, but now New Energy Technologies is creating
a product to offset energy costs from the outside in. This company is
in the process of commercializing a transparent surface that can utilize
light energy: the SolarWindow. The SolarWindow technology utilizes a
spray-on film made of tiny solar cells, replacing the metals
traditionally used in solar tech with translucent “organic”
compounds. It can be powered by artificial light, direct and indirect
sunlight, thus allowing for installation on all sides of a building.
The New Energy Technologies website claims that the annual value of
electricity produced by the SolarWindow [($/kWh)/yr] is potentially
twice as productive as alternative options.
The SolarWindow will be of most use in sizeable structures with a
large surface areas of windows, such as skyscrapers. There is a focus
by New Energy Technologies to install their windows in Florida; a
fifty-story commercial building here could generate enough electricity
to power 100 homes and contribute to carbon emission reduction.
However, concerns have been raised about damage from severe weather,
since Florida is prone to hurricanes. And what about shading from other
buildings? Perhaps this tech would be most efficient in upper levels.
Buildings utilize enormous amounts of electricity. In the pursuit
of efficiency, we should not only look to reduce the amount of energy
these structures expend, but seek also for methods of energy production.
"Size Matters: New See Through Solar Windows Go Big" - Tina Casey -
Clean Technica - March 27th, 2014
"Solar Power Windows Fast Approaching Commercial Production" - James
Ayre - Clean Technica - May 17th, 2013
**Article points to other businesses in the "building integrated
Solar Window Website - New Energy Technologies Inc.
2014 BioEnergy & Sustainability School
Soil and Water Science Department
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