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Solar Visuals: Energy-generating façades

Award category
Techniques, materials and processes for construction and design
You want to submit
NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS : existing completed examples
Project title
Solar Visuals: Energy-generating façades
Full project title
Fully customizable, visually appealing, energy-generating façade panels
Solar Visuals is the developer of a revolutionary building integrated façade panel which can transform the built environment into visually appealing electricity-generating power plants. Through an innovative printing technology, our solar panels are fully sizable, scalable and can be customized with any visual design while maintaining high performance. Solar Visuals' panels can help stakeholders reach their sustainability goals by helping to create energy-neutral buildings.
Where was your project implemented in the EU?
Grasweg 31
1031 HW
When was your project implemented?
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Which programme(s) or fund(s)? Provide the name of the programme(s)/fund(s), the strand/action line as relevant and the year.
Please provide a summary of your project
The project we designed is a branding scheme for Shell, which includes the renovation of the façade with renewable, energy-generating solar panels with full colour visuals. Instead of black PV panels, we used aesthetic, renewable and colourful façade elements with blind mounting of glass façade cladding. Ten grid boxes, with every grid consisting of two rows of each eight panels with a format of 680 x 1335 mm, communicate the client's sustainability ambitions through the use of a pictogram in the house colour scheme. The boxes consist of tempered glass panels out of solar cells, special prints integrated into the panel with extreme outdoor durability, and an aluminium profile system. Solar Visuals developed the basic façade concept that led to a patented grid pattern that is specifically tailored to the solar cell. Various grid patterns are possible with different degrees of coverage of the print. Depending on the viewing distance to the Solar Visuals panel, an appropriate balance between energy yield and aesthetics can always be chosen. The design was translated by Solar Visuals into a gridded optimisation, after which the façade elements were produced and mounted using blind suspension construction.    
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability and how these have been met
The building and construction industries have recognised the potential façades have to become energy-generating surfaces. As space is often scarce and with roof-top solar panels not always meeting environmental regulations, there is a shift towards applying solar-energy devices onto building façades. In this project, space on the roof was limited and the application of energy-generating elements on the façade was crucial to successfully achieve the client’s sustainability goals. Solar panels on roofs cause a huge peak load on the electricity grid in the middle of the day, which could be compensated with the installation in the façade of the building. The façade modules from the Solar Visuals Collection combine a high energy yield with aesthetic quality. The Solar Visuals Collection is an accessible way for property developers, architects, builders, housing corporations, governments and other end users to create carbon neutral building with energy-generating façade panels that also add beauty to the built environment. They are suitable for new construction projects and for making existing construction more sustainable.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met
The aim of the project was to demonstrate a logo that illustrates the key research values of Shell, while incorporating a full colour bright image which does not compromise the performance of the underlying solar panels. The image should be a soft detail on the façade, and should not be distracting for residents in the apartment buildings living across the street. The result is an appealing logo on the façade of the building, which communicates the objectives and aspirations of Shell and their contribution to Sustainability.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion and how these have been met
The development of the production process of the coloured energy-generating façade panels and of the mounting system of the panels has been such that the cost of installation is also economical feasible for low cost housing projects. At the same time the full colour custom visual integration can be made to everyone's needs and preferences and optimized based on type of project or location. Compared to coloured energy-generating install systems, the average cost is 500 EUR per squaremeter and over a financial lifetime 300 per squaremeter. With an average of 200 EUR per squaremeter (including the energy-yield of this façade panel), they have a comparable investment cost.
Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for
Solar Visuals consists of a variety of options that can be incorporated in the façade of buildings. One of them is the freedom of design, where we offer architects, designers and real estate owners, who appreciate their freedom of design, fully customizable solutions that suits any visual style. This was demonstrated in this project, while making sure that visual power and energy production are always maintained and optimized while size, shape and material structure of the Solar Visuals panels can vary according to the customers wishes. A result of this project is that the renewable energy generation on the façade was operating as expected from previous modelling, and residents of the neighborhood, as well as stakeholders, find the result very pleasing. This project demonstrated an innovative way for organizations to communicate their values while being a symbol for these values in itself.  
Please explain the way citizens benefiting from or affected by the project and civil society have been involved in the project and what has been the impact of this involvement on the project
In the design phase the customer, Shell, the city counsel responsible for judging aesthetics, and the community of residence around the building have been consulted and directly involved in the designing process, resulting in a design that is adapted to everyones preferences and needs. In regard to the influence of our built environment on human well-being, the colorful panels represent a better alternative to regular black PV panels, which are less aesthetically satisfying. The development of the production process of the coloured energy generating façade panels and of the mounting system of the panels has been such, that the cost of installation is also economical feasible for low cost housing projects. At the same time the full colour fully custom visual integration can be made to everyone’s liking and project or/and location dependent optimized.     
Please highlight the innovative character of the project
Our innovative printing technology allows the construction industry, developers, municipalities, architects and designers to carry out their sustainability goals and to create buildings and cities that are smart, efficient and good-looking.The size, shape and material structure of panels is fully customizable. The printing possibilities are endless: images can vary in size from one panel to a façade-wide image covering multiple panels. From monochrome in any desired RAL or PMS colour to abstract patterns or photographic prints. The printed panels are available with (PV) and without energy-generating solar cells (non-PV ) – an interesting solution for a design where parts of the façade are located in the shade or are oriented on the north side of a building or object. This project demonstrated an innovative way for Shell to communicate their values and their contribution to Sustainability. Instead of delivering generic messages to the public, the organization demonstrated that they are actively taking action to become a more sustainable organization. This is the first demonstration to our knowledge of a PV façade in full colour with high energy-generation performance.      
Please explain how the project led to results or learnings which could be transferred to other interested parties
Several learnings on panel production, project oranisation, the design process and façade mounting were a result of the project. These included among others how to incorporate coloured solar panels in a building, with respect to mounting systems and cost optimization and performance optimisation.
Is an evaluation report or any relevant independent evaluation source available?
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed project has not been proposed for the Awards more than once under the same category and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.


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