Solar-Panel 'Skin' May Be Future of Sustainable Home
Prêt-à-Loger is a project out of the Netherlands to retrofit a typical row home with a “skin” of solar panels and smart technology to make the home more sustainable and energy neutral. The project is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, a competition started in 2002 to show the feasibility of solar energy to the housing industry. (Source: Delf University of Technology)
That is an excellent point, fm! It seems that people who want to use renewables or companies/engineers offering new renewable-energy solutions always have to justify the technology. But as you point out, that isn't true for every project or technology that's been devised in the past, and in some cases it should be. I appreciate your comment and hope it gets people thinking.
Personally, i find it interesting that whenever renewables are discussed, the biggest word in the room is "payback." That term is pretty rare in other circles. Does anyone ever discuss the "payback" in complete terms when flattening a city block to reconstruct better buildings in the same spot?
Really, the additional cost of the "skin" in this case should be compared not to its direct "payback," (the cost of the skin vs the energy cost saved) but to the cost of razing and reconstructing these buildings with modern passive and active energy management solutions. I'm guessing that this could be an economical solution in certain situations.
Electricity at $0.18 KW/H, water heater 2.5KW in use 2 hours a day, solar energy alternative 270 days/year (I said efficient), ROI after 3.5 years, solar heater lifetime 8 years at least. Thats assuming 5 showers daily (3 grubby little boys) + washing up with hot water.
Of course, if it's just the 2 of you the calculations are different.
I have a solar water heater on my roof. Everyone in my neighborhood has one. They are cheap (about 800$), simple, and amazingly efficient. The will to invest a little to save energy in many parts of the world just doesn't seem to be in place yet.
I think there is a lot of information on the project site, Daniyal, but I am sure more will be revealed at the competition. At this point I don't think I can go, but if I do I will be sure to reveal more details and report more on innovative projects like this.
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Scientists at four major universities in Europe have released a joint paper describing the use of light to put active materials into motion and to control that motion, producing lifelike mechanisms that may or may not contain living organisms, but can produce useful work.
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