Top 5 Best Solar-Powered Buildings in the World
With all the energy-efficient advances that are constantly being made, it is no wonder that there are some impressive solar-powered buildings that are currently being built. Irresistibly low solar rates make this new technology one that is being used more and more often as huge building projects are starting to revolve around energy efficiency. Read on to find out more about some of the best solar-powered buildings in the world.
Best Solar-Powered Buildings
Apple’s Spaceship HQ
This mega-company’s headquarters is located in a building in Cupertino, CA, with an updated modern design which can only be referred to as a ‘spaceship”. The building, which is costing $5 billion dollars to construct, may make up for its expenses in its use of renewable energy.
The ‘spaceship’ features the largest piece of structural glass ever made and also contains one of the largest solar arrays in any corporate building in the world. Its spacious rooftop offers enough area to hold thousands of solar panels with can provide 16 megawatts of power. Also on campus will be 4 megawatts of biogas fuel cells. The building will have the capability to tap into the renewable energy of the nearby 130 megawatt solar installation from First Solar.
The headquarters building is also taking advantage of other natural resources that may be at their disposal. This includes adding plenty of trees to the property as well as biking and jogging trails all of which will amount to 80% of green space on the 175 acre campus. Sustainable design elements will be incorporated into the building as well. The campus is expected to be completed some time later this year.
Melbourne’s Off-Grid Skyscraper
When it comes to solar-powered buildings, having an energy efficient campus designed around a solar powered spaceship is pretty impressive! But what about putting all those energy efficient elements into a skyscraper? The new 60 story apartments building not only adds an impressive structure to the Melbourne, AU skyline, it also brings the concept of solar power to a whole new level.
Residents of the Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) will be able to enjoy a completely off the grid experience, achieved through the use of solar cells which completely wrap the façade of the building. The building also features roof mounted wind turbines, a sustainable design and a massive battery storage system. The building’s unique curve has the ability to sustain as much sunlight as possible as it moves on its east to west axis.
Putting solar panels on the façade of the building gives it the ability to absorb more solar power as opposed to if they were on the roof. As of now, this enables the building to obtain 50% of its energy through solar power but designers are hoping this number moves closer to 100% as improvements are made in the building’s architecture.
General Electric’s ‘Solar Veil” HQ
GE’s new sustainable headquarters is another great example of the world’s top solar-powered buildings. The building features a literal solar veil with is composed of solar slats that will emit light through after it bounces off its photovoltaic surfaces.
Other efforts made in incorporating energy efficiency in this building includes the repurposing of two old brick warehouses, native plantings, rooftop gardens, elevated ground floors and systems that will account for future sea level rise. (The building overlooks the city’s Fort Point Channel.) The building will also offer only 30 parking spots as encouragement for its 800 employees to bike or walk to work, or take public transportation. Completion is expected to occur sometime in 2018.
Tesla is on the forefront of alternative energy sources with this Gigafactory which in not only the biggest building in the world when measured by area, but one of the top solar-powered buildings offering net-zero energy. The building plans to feature a roof entirely covered in solar panels and designers also intend to install arrays in neighboring hillsides. The company is hoping to be able to rely completely on these panels as a means of powering the entire building.
Although, so far, completing the building has not been without its challenges, designers have been optimistic, dealing with problems as the arise. They are also planning on incorporating geothermal and wind installations as an additional means of relying on renewable energy sources. They are hoping to complete the project by 2020.
Copenhagen International School
The Copenhagen International School in Denmark is another facility on track to be one of the best solar-powered buildings in the world. Offering the world’s largest solar façade, plans are being made to incorporate over 12,000 colored solar panels directly into the building’s structure and glass. These should be sufficient in providing half the energy the school will need.
To further integrate natural energy into its culture, the school is making efforts to engage students by offering solar studies as a part of their curriculum. Students will have the ability to monitor energy production in real time and be able to put this to practical use in their classes.
It is exciting to see how advances in solar technology are manifesting themselves in these solar-powered buildings. As time goes on, features such as solar powered facades may become more and more commonplace. Until then, these buildings remain impressive landmarks that mark the coming of a new and more energy efficient age.