Imagine if we could notably increase the generation of clean energy intake throughout all building surfaces and not just from their roof’s solar panels? Architects and Engineers continuo to place most of the building’s energy-generation equipment in rooftops, almost any newly designed rooftop functions as a miniature power plant turning sunlight into clean electricity, however with a growing ability to coat glass, paint and other surfaces with sun-harvesting technology now we can re-think and re-design the way we look at green solar energy intake in our buildings.
George Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia (US) is the first to put this new technology theory to test by installing the world’s first solar paneled pavement. Designed by Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) specialists Onyx Solar, the pavement panels are slip-resistant and semi-translucent for optimum aesthetic appeal and functionality. The energy generated by the pavement (approximately 400Wp) will power 450 LED pathway lights beneath the panels themselves.
In total 27 panels have been used in the pavement design which has been integrated into a popular Solar Walk between two of the university’s buildings, Innovation Hall and Exploration Hall. The Solar Walk was completed by Studio39 Landscape Architecture and Hubert Construction LLC in 2012 with design features suggested by current students of the university. The walkway also boasts a trellis with embedded solar panels which supply energy to Innovation Hall.
Eric Selbst, Senior Land Use Planner explains: “The Solar Walk is a great example of George Washington University’s commitment to sustainability and a reflection of the university’s forward thinking mentality. With an ever-increasing need for alternative energy solutions, it is critical to foster new trends such as this in building sustainable technologies. We are very excited about this project and proud to be a trailblazer in the development of new methods and sustainability.”