Monday, March 31, 2008

The Solaire Building

We got to go on a tour of the Solaire Building this morning which was super fun - if a bit wet. Anthony (our Photovoltaics prof from Alt Power) worked with Pelli Clark Pelli to design and install the PV for this project back in 20o2 so it was really cool to have him walk us through the project.

View from the south with the new Polshek building in front. You can see the Bulkhead PV array up top.

Facade integrated PV panels. Installed just like a regular window. The blue mosaic is because these are made from recycled computer chip silicon and they can't keep a consistent hue. I think it looks kind of cool. All things in moderation of course.

The PV here is installed as a BIPV system - "Building Integrated PV" - basically means they used the PV as part of the facade of the building rather than making the building and applying PV afterwards. He helped to design the panels on the West facade as essentially 'windows.' They came framed and glazed and were installed just like any other windows - then they were hooked into the Electrical system afterwards. While it definitely reduces the efficiency of the panels to install them vertically on a facade - I think it makes a much stronger rhetorical argument about the way building's function and how the systems of the building can be integrated into both the aesthetics and the enclosure of a building. It also makes the PV much more visible and raises the issue in people's consciousness. The building manager said they get tons and tons of people for tours and they rent at a 10% premium cus' everybody wants to live in a 'green' building.

The PV on the Bulkhead - thats Anthony in the foreground.

There are two arrays on the building - one on the facade and one on the bulkhead - the total system provides 5% of the building's base load. Pretty awesome really. Anyway - a fun tour and nice to see a way of integrating PV into the shell of a building - rather than just pasting it on at the end.

We have a meeting in a little bit to see where everybody ended up this week after investigating out small portions individually. Everybody has been producing lots of stuff all week so it should be interesting to say the least.

The roof of all the new Battery Park City Buildings have intensive green roofs - sedum and light-weight soil.

Sunny Boy inverters. Same ones were using in the Bronx - different voltage though.

The canopy over the entry was custom fabricated. The PV is sandwiched between glass panels and is spaced far enough apart to allow plenty of light to come through. Pretty awesome effects.

Yeah - I suppose I made a strategic footwear miscalculation this morning. Wet socks: outa sight.

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