Photovoltaic panels and solar hot water panels both provide useful benefits for the buildings they are attached to, but sometimes there is limited space on the roof, and usually only one or the other is installed. Solimpeks, a solar panel manufacturer based in Turkey, has been producing solar panels for a long time, and has an elegant solution to the problem: a panel that produces both electricity and hot water. It turns out that the Solimpeks Volther dual-use panels increase efficiency more than you might expect.
New Jersey-based Englert, a company that specializes in metal roofing and gutter systems, recently earned a citation from Architect Magazine for their incredible Solar Sandwich roof system. On the surface, it looks like any other standing-seam metal roof with columns of thin-film photovoltaic solar. Yet below that, to capture the warmth generated from hot metal roofing, there’s a grid of pex-filled purlins with a water and glycol solution for a solar thermal system.
Sunverge has released a new Solar Integration System (SIS) package containing an inverter and battery storage unit to complement the standard residential solar PV array. Brought to the market in February 2011, this new offering will give homeowners the opportunity to attain reliable net-zero energy status and eliminate reliance on the grid.
On average, about 18% of home energy consumption is for water heating, the second largest consumer behind space heating. The primary technology used to do this is the tank-type water heater (both gas- and electric-powered), but solar water heating can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water.
One Block Off the Grid took a stab at answering the question: “How big a backyard do you need to live off of the land?” It turns out, plants like corn, wheat, fruits, grains, and vegetables take a lot of space. Also, to offset the electricity required to power the average home in the U.S., which consumes about 11,040 kWh per year, one needs about 375 square feet of solar PV, or 25 average efficiency solar panels getting seven hours of sun. Check out the full infographic:
This is the donQi urban wind turbine, which is assembled in Rotterdam. It’s an interesting small wind product and the subject of a recent article in the September 2011 issue of Dwell. In the article, Second to None, Jane Szita describes a Passive House near Amsterdam by architect Pieter Weijnen. The home has some beautiful Japanese-style charred siding and a sleek-white, residential donQi.