In spite of technological progress (continuous increase of efficiency) and economic evolution (reduction of costs), only a small part of the solar electricity potential of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is currently valorized in urban areas (integration into façades or roofs elements).
Indeed, diverse types of obstacles exist and have until now limited the large-scale implementation of BIPV into urban renewal processes, as well as prevented the emergence of a real chain of added values in that strategic domain.
By studying those barriers and proposing alternative urban and architectural solutions based on a holistic approach, this project goes further and has a wider scope than the technological progress achieved so far.
Working on urban renewal processes (renovation, transformation or substitution of existing buildings) simultaneously contributes to reduce end energy consumption, promote the use of renewable energy and cut CO2 emissions. In addition, BIPV contributes directly to offset the loss in electricity production from nuclear energy.
The approach will study in a structured and in-depth manner the technological and economic parameters related to production, but also to construction constraints, law conditions, architectural quality and socio-cultural issues. In a sustainability perspective, the development of new adapted solutions will take into account diverse criteria (energy, comfort, LCA, costs, esthetics, costs of electricity and grid connection).
By assuring the integration of concrete applications-tests carried out on real, representative sites and buildings, this project will offer an attractive link between the development of industrial elements and the generation of operational knowledge directly integrated into new adapted solutions and design strategies (interesting potential in terms of transferability).
The final objective of the interdisciplinary project ACTIVE INTERFACES is to generate from the built environment a sustainable low-cost and accepted (or even desired) source of local electricity, making the vision of over 10 GW of solar electricity in Switzerland significantly easier to implement. Developed with this aim in mind, the research project will include the formulation and implementation of concrete recommendations to bring about a significant change in practice in this area.
The findings will be addressed to four main target audiences: legislators and regulators at the federal, cantonal and municipal levels; owners and other decision-makers along the value chain; architects, engineering offices; suppliers, integrators, construction companies.