A zero-energy house under construction in Germany is set to provide the first real-life test for a new façade system that uses live microalgae to provide shade and generate renewable energy at the same time.
The world’s first ‘bio-adaptive façade’ will be installed in the ‘BIQ’ house for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg which runs through 2013.
The façade concept is designed so that algae in the bio-reactor façades grow faster in bright sunlight to provide more internal shading. The ‘bio-reactors’ not only produce biomass that can subsequently be harvested but they also capture solar thermal heat – both energy sources can be used to power the building.
In practice this means that photosynthesis is driving a dynamic response to the amount of solar shading required while the micro-algae growing in the glass louvres provide a clean source of renewable energy.
The shading louvres for the BIQ house in Hamburg are being fabricated in Germany by Colt International on the basis of bio-reactor concept and design work led by the international design consultant Arup in cooperation with SSC Strategic Science Consult of Germany. The BIQ house was designed for the IBA exhibition by Splitterwerk Architects of Graz Austria.
Arup’s Europe Research Leader Jan Wurm said “To use bio-chemical processes for adaptive shading is a really innovative and sustainable solution so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario. As well as generating renewable energy and providing shade to keep the inside of the building cooler on sunny days it also creates a visually interesting look that architects and building owners will like.”
Simon O'Hea Director at Colt said “It’s been a very rewarding scheme to be involved in. We have put a lot of work into meeting the technical challenges and we now have a commercial-scale effective solution that uses live algae as a smart material to deliver renewable energy. You can’t get greener than that.”
Once completed in March 2013 the BIQ house will allow scientists engineers and builders to assess the full potential of the system as a green alternative providing dynamic solar shading alongside sustainable renewable energy.
1. The “BIQ” house will be home to the first ever building with a façade bioreactor and forms part of the International Building Exhibition Hamburg (IBA).
2. The façade of bioreactors uses photosynthesis to generate micro-algae which are harvested and converted to biomass for energy generation. The process creates a shimmering green façade for the building and the fuel for generating sustainable renewable energy.
3. The bio-façade concept is being developed by three partners: SSC Strategic Science Consult of Germany (Bioreactor Technology) the international design consultant Arup (Concept Design Coordination and Engineering) and Colt International (Reactor Design).
4. The BIQ house was designed by Splitterwerk Architects of Graz in Austria and is one of the houses set to showcase smart materials as part of the IBA Hamburg exhibition.
5. The product development was supported by the German research initiative “ZukunftBau” of the German Federal Ministry of Transport Building and Urban Development.
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