Adaptive solar power harvesting building skin



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The world is and has always strived to have sufficient energy for all its universal needs and it’s been a long fashion that the energy generated is mostly from the non-renewable resources/fossil fuels to various forms of energy. From the dawn of industrial revolution these resources are the major source for energy production, although these are limited, but we always have various other choices of generating energy from natural resources which are everlasting, much cleaner and green energy. Of all the natural resources available, solar energy is the most abundantly available natural resource which can be key for unlimited sustainable energy.

The subject of this thesis is to design an interactive, intelligent, sensor driven adaptive building facade/roof system that harvests solar energy and also act as shading device to a build environment in Hyderabad, Southern India. The proposed adaptive skin systems are derived using parametric design methods and exploring various geometrical patterns and ornament derivative from Indian culture and heritage. Precedent building skin systems examined in this research opens new avenues to be explored to the regional context, understand the functionalities, their approach to architectural design, sustainability and their structural challenges. Often facades that are static, rigid and functional harvesting solar energy and acting as thermal insulators but they aren’t interactive or responsive to either sun or internal temperature changes. What if, the building skin components are operable and programmed in adapting to the climatic changes optimizing solar energy harvesting process and shading a build environment?

Where is the problem? Static or immovable facades have limited ability to harvest solar power though they are functional mostly non-interactive building envelopes that are not adapting to climatic changes and not producing essential electricity to self-sustain. Most importantly, the current building facades systems in Hyderabad are more power consuming due to meeting higher need for air-conditioning and are not efficient enough to screen the sun’s harsh radiation to reduce the power demand.

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Responsive Building Skins, Intelligent Skins, Parametric Facades, Mechanical and Dynamic Architectural Systems