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Industrivej 8
8260 Viby J
Denmark

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info@solarlab.dk

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How to design a BiPV facade

Solarlab.dk bespoke BiPV

BiPV facade structure

SolarLabs ventilated and light weight BiPV facades leverage existing, familiar and well proven technologies and combine these with our proprietary mounting systems and custom tailored cladding panels to provide easy to install and resilient facades. This de-risks the process and facilitates a quick learning curve with predictable outcome and lower costs.

Fundamentally the BiPV facade cladding consists of 3 structural layers. The outer skin that is based on well proved and resilient PV technologies, but where SolarLabs production allows a broad scope of customization in colors, finishes and dimensions. The proprietary mountings system is the foundation that securely attaches the BiPV facede to the underlying building structure and allows for fast, sequre and easy installation on any building. Finally the middle layer that provides the geometric flexibility to tailor panelisation and individual panel level orientation.

Typical scope boundary for the SolarLab facade is the supporting wall surface or the vertical girts, where we mount our horizontal rails. On the electrical side the scope boundary is typically the AC side of the 3-phase inverters and the web based monitoring interface.

Our EU based production pipeline allows us to both be incredibly flexible and responsive, but also a high degree of project specific customization, as described above and we are always ready to help an explore ways to provide just the right solutions for your project and answer any questions that may arise in the concept and design phases.

To get you started we provide our design guidelines for typical BiPV facades in a PDF below, along with a product description flyer to help communicate to stakeholders, colleagues and clients, the opportunities that a custom BiPV facade from SolarLab provides. When you are ready we are always open to meet and give feedback, as well as to take it to the next level and make it a reality.

Mounting systems

The highly resilient tempered glass outer skin support 3 primary styles of facade finish. From the super smooth Crystal finish over the Etched mat surface to the Deep-Structured rolled glass, they afford very different material experiences and play of light. This allows individual architectural interpretation and integration of the custom design BiPV facade to seamlessly achieve the desired outcome.

Shingles

The overlapping panels of the Scales family provides a depth to the facade and a texture that add life and character to the panelisation. With build heights as low as 80 mm this ventilated cladding solution can be customized both in dimensions and articulation.

First deployed at the Red River College in Winnipeg where the large panels softly changes color as they flow around the buildings. Leveraging a range of panel sizes up to 2400 by 1400 mm, and tiled in clusters this allows the highly efficient BiPV facade to seamlessly integrate in the building design by providing both human and building scale element without dominating the resulting implementation.

Sequins

The randomly and individually articulated panels of the Sequins family provide a lively and highly expressive facade cladding that continuously change with the daylight and the viewer. The subtlety of these color changes can be tailored, as can the dimensions of the individual panels to fit the desired building design.

The system was first deployed at the Copenhagen International School where the 12.000 identical panels never look the same due to the anisotropic nature of the glass coatings and the panel geometry. These dramatic visual impressions allows the building to articulate and highlights the sustainable efforts and shows that taking responsibility can be both beautiful and cost-effective.

Skin

The smooth flat mounted Skin family allows for build heights as low as 60 mm and for seamless BiPV integrations with traditional cladding solutions to provide a more monolithic and unified architectural form. This family lends itself very easily to energy renovations where the low profile along with the cost-efficient panelization allows BiPV integration without compromising the original architectural design.

First deployed at the Bornholm hospital and the Trifolium projects in Denmark it can be mounted directly unto the insulating layer to further reduce complexity, build height and cost.

Surface finishing

The highly resilient tempered glass outer skin support 3 primary styles of surface finishing. Front the super smooth Crystal finish over the Etched mat surface to the Deep-Structured rolled glass, they afford very different material experiences and allows architectural interpretation and integration of the custom design BiPV facade to seamlessly achieve the desired outcome.

Satin

The Satin finish is our most popular and highly recommended panel finish, as it allows for a self-cleaning and maintenance free facade while it all but eliminates glare and can therefore be deployed in airports and close to traffic. A further advantage of the smooth satinated finish is its well documented ability to harvest more electricity from the sun than traditional PV glass.

Crystal

Our Crystal finish provides a dramatic and beautifully precise visual character that lifts it out of the mundane to tell a story of high-tech and futurism. It also allows the BiPV integration into curtain wall facades without noticeable differentiation to the material expression.

Texture

To give the surface more depth and character we also have a range of deep-structured glasses that not only adds a macro level play of light and tactile textures, but also enhances the light gathering ability of the panel like the satinated glass finish does.

Colors and color technologies

To provide a maintenance free and long service life  facade, we integrate color behind the tempered low-iron glass where it is protected from the suns UV rays, but also use polymer free coloring system to ensure color stability for the entire life of the facade

From the natural material colors and classic ceramic print to the structural colores created through PVD coating we provide a comprehensive range of coloring technologies to provide flat, metallic or chameleon style colors.

Natural

The supreme clarity of the ultra low-iron float glass defines the most efficient glass available, with crisp reflections, but also a higher risc of glare and disturbing reflections.

The natural float glass allows visibility to the photo voltaic cells that adds an intriguing visual detail to the facade, while our wide range of structured and finished glass allow the sculpting of reflections and optimization of the light harvesting in non-optimal orientations.

The low-iron crystal glass allows the BiPV areas to blend invisibly in a curtain-wall facade while it reflects the world around it.

Print

Traditional spandrel printing with ceramic colors on the rear of the glass allows for varying degrees of transparency using patterns and defined colors that can be precisely and uniformly defined as the resulting cladding will be isotropic in nature. This affords very broad design freedom and allows for multi colored patterns and graphics as well as very precise color calibration.

The technology masks and reflects the incoming light with dots of colored glass that is melted into the rear of the glass and is therefore less efficient that the structural colors of the natural glass, and will result in a less efficient BiPV solution, but with unique visual opportunities.

Structural Colors

Structural colors achieved through PVD coating on the rear of the glass provides a unique combination of unparalleled efficiency and uniquely beautiful colors. The colors are achieved through a muliti layers nanoscale filtering that ensures that only very specific wavelengths of light are reflected and therefore ensures that most of the light is transmitted trough the glass to be harvested by the PV cells. ‘

The solutions are often anisotropic in nature and can be made to change color depending the position of the sun and spectators viewing the surface. This SolarLabs preferred color technology and we have a long track-record of completed projects with the technology, both for new build and revitalized architecture as well as for both large and small buildings

Our light-weight BiPV facades are engineered to be customizable.

We hope the design freedom afforded will help you design amazing sustainable architecture and can’t wait to help you realize it, but please reach out if you have any question or are looking for something new.

Cladding systems

Download

To help you get started designing your energy producing BiPV facade we provide our design guide for both panelisation and BiPV facade construction. As our systems provide very broad design freedom we have provided a detailed plan and section sketch, with minimum and maximum dimensions as well as typical dimension and description.

Please contact us when you are ready to start the design dialogue, if you need help to realize a challenging design or need input regarding cost and power estimates. We can also help with descriptive texts for your tendering documentation to ensure that the design intent survives the tendering process.