Architectural Integration of Active Solar Energy

Adopting the active solar technologies is the best way to reduce the fossil energy use in the low energy buildings. However, use of active solar technologies brings a great challenge for Architects, who willing to keep a high architectural quality of the buildings. These challenges are more or less complex depending upon the maturity of the technology in relation to building use. The architectural integration problems are basically structured into design, functional, constructive and aesthetic issues. The Photovoltaic and solar thermal collector systems when integrated in a building should become part of the general building design and function as general building elements.

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Integration in Design Concept

It is more efficient to consider the solar technology systems when designing the building rather than “mounting” it in a later stage. To integrate a solar system means to insert a technical element in a new or existing roof or into exterior wall. In architectural concepts, the roof and walls have different demands for integration.
All the aspects such as dimensions, proportions, the structure of the surface and colors should be considered in the early design concept. Another important factor which should be considered in design concept is the target factor of the saturation of solar energy and resulting size of the unit.Regarding the envelope integration,where aesthetic constraints are major and have most impact, decision should be made at very early stage of the project.



Integration Criteria

The integration of solar systems is more natural if the solar systems are  pleasing within the context of the building’s architecture like good composition of colors and materials.The solar systems should fit the visual pattern of the grid and make the good harmony with the building as a whole.