In addition to offering protection from the cold and rain, building envelopes provide occupants with an outlook, enable fresh air to enter rooms and serve a variety of other purposes. However, nowadays they must also help buildings to cover their energy needs by, for example, providing thermal energy for heating and showering.
Within the Solar Thermal Façades research field, we investigate how much energy a building-integrated solar thermal collector can contribute to the energy requirements of a building. We look into how much money can be saved by planning an active building envelope with a building-integrated solar thermal (BIST) system as opposed to constructing a building envelope first and subsequently installing a conventional collector.
What’s more, we develop new BIST collectors, ranging from low-cost solutions to highly efficient designs, and investigate building-integrated photovoltaic-thermal (BIPVT) collectors. We measure the components of active solar façades around the clock in the laboratory as well as outside with a sample size up to 4 meters by 3.77 meters and user-defined angles of incidence. In addition, we model building-integrated collectors, optimize them by varying the computer models and publish our scientific results to ensure that advances in this field continue to be made around the world.