Posts tagged ‘housing’

October 30, 2016

Cutting edge ways to utilise buildings for electricity

Tesla and SolarCity-owner Elon Musk has just revealed their latest product, called the ‘Solar Roof’, which is essentially tiles with integrated, high-efficiency solar cells behind tempered glass.

The new solar tiles are stylish as one can choose the most matching look for any building from the four different styles available (textured glass, slate glass, Tuscan glass, smooth glass tile). By using glass, the durability of tiles is increased and might even outlast the building’s life as claimed. There is a slight loss of efficiency (they work at 98 per cent), but the company is working on improving this rate.

Tesla claims the new roof could be more affordable than conventional ones when calculating utility costs as well, and when bundled with Tesla’s Powerwall ‘personal battery solutions’, households of the future shall be able to generate most of the power they would use.

Meanwhile researchers are also working on how to utilise windows to generate electricity. 30146569762_36de14f9b8_bScientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, have published a paper in Nature Energy claiming that a thin film layer of ‘quantum dots’ added to existing windows could enable low-cost window-based solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which could reach higher efficiency (up to six per cent) than current systems. Quantum dots are nanometre-sized semiconductors, which enable scientists to set which type of light is absorbed. The layer is easy to apply, and the silica-protection protects against oxidation, for enabling durability.

Photos: Tesla Solar and Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico

April 17, 2012

Living in a Container

As the world’s population has now reached seven billion, space for housing is becoming scarce, and the amount of household junk collected by us is increasing, some innovative architects decided the combine the good with the useful.

According to some figures there are more than thirty million unused containers piled up in ports all around the world as shipping companies or the owners don’t have the money to send them back to their origin. These containers however are great for accommodation – according to some creative experts.

‘Container housing’ can be a solution for disaster-striken areas, as these ‘boxes’ resist strong winds and can be a safe shelter. One of the flagship initiatives in this area is the SEED
Project, by researchers of the Clemson University.

Some architects want to make containers more attractive for trendsetters and have come up with unique and stylish designs.

These containers have many advantages: besides being durable they are also ‘scalable’, cheap and easy to move.

In the Ukraine and in Kyrgyzstan there are already whole shopping malls developed from shipping containers, which could also serve as ideal offices spaces.

Travelodge, for example, used 86 containers to build a hotel in Uxbridge, London, which
looks just like a normal hotel made of bricks. 

The construction process was faster than normal
and very cost-effective. Also, thanks to the interior decoration guests may not even notice that
they are staying in a container.

Re-cycling unused containers is a great way to save space and waste, and who wouldn’t want
to live in some of these contemporary ‘flats’?

Written for the Energy Saving Warehouse

Image: Verbus Systems

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