From Thermal Collectors Integration to Active Façade Systems
One main step to ease facade integration of solar thermal is to conceive new collectors as multifunctional building elements. For flat plate hydraulic collectors (glazed and unglazed) the most natural added function is facade cladding. The new elements should then meet the sets of requirements of both solar and facade systems. Now, for architectural coherence, areas of different solar exposure or too small to host collectors may need the same cladding appearance. This means that the availability, within the system, of elements providing the sole cladding function and of components to interface the system with the other building parts (windows, balconies, eaves…) is fundamental to answer correctly to facade integration issues. Two possible approaches to meet these requirements are presented and evaluated through a practical example: - develop a new façade system around the new collectors - adapt the new collectors to an existing facade system. Both options introduce the new concept of “active facade systems”, which should then logically be developed by façade manufacturers rather than the collector industry alone. This will be globally more economic and effective since it will benefit from the experience, infrastructure and market access of building professionals, for a building product. Finally recent developments in both the fields of glazed and unglazed systems are presented that show the relevance of this novel approach.