We are currently working on designing buildings that can generate more energy than they consume – so-called “plus-energy buildings”. The required basis is buildings and user scenarios with very low overall energy demands (heating, cooling, ventilation, cooking, lighting, etc.). It is principally crucial to bring about a maximum amount of energy from renewable sources, to reduce the amount of thermal energy needed to heat spaces and provide hot water, and to provide cooling by exploiting the options naturally available in our climate, such as free cooling.
If this reduced amount of energy required by building systems, lighting, and individual users, and possibly also their substitution, is to be provided by the building itself, then the use of photovoltaics is also a potential solution.
The energy of the sun is so great that in central Europe, we are in the position of being able to use our buildings to meet our demand for electricity. This includes buildings up to seven stories in height, even in partially shaded areas. The use of building-integrated photovoltaics will be an essential component of the design of building envelopes in the future. Since 2003, pos architects have been working intensely on photovoltaics in construction.