Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)
An exciting trend in green design is the realization that a great deal of free solar energy continually falls on the outside of buildings. In many instances, this energy is reflected or absorbed as heat.
Building science engineers and architects have been studying how to capture this energy in manners that blend more attractively – and efficiently – into the outer surface of the building.
First, came solar collectors. They are starting to show up everywhere we look. Those blue and gray rectangular panels we often see situated on top of commercial and residential buildings. Many companies and individuals are proud of their solar collectors and show them off on the outside of their buildings.
These companies and people are to be commended for their forward looking and green attitudes.
But, designers and engineers have also realized that there is also a group that want to be green with a more stylish emphasis.
Enter Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV for short. BIPV is based on the philosophy of creating methods to capture solar energy that are more integrated into the building design. These methods can range from films that can be placed over glass to collector panels that blend seamlessly into the roof line.