Conference paper

Facade Integration of Solar Thermal Collectors:A Breakthrough?

One main barrier to the acceptability of façade use of solar thermal collectors is their black appearance and the visibility of piping or absorber irregularities through the glazing. To facilitate façade integration, a project was set up to develop selective filters reflecting only a small part of the solar spectrum in the visible range while letting the rest of the radiation heat the absorber. These filters were successfully produced and, combined with a diffusing glass treatment, have achieved the desired masking effect with minor impact on the collector efficiency (less than 10%). Glasses of various colours combined with several diffusing finishing (acid etching, structured glass etc…) can be produced that are able to hide the absorber. Such glazings will allow the use of the same product both in front of façade areas equipped with solar absorbers (as collector external glass) and in front of the non exposed areas (as façade cladding), opening the way to a broad variety of active façade designs. The active elements can then be positioned at will on the exposed areas, and their quantity determined only by thermal needs. By freeing the dimension of the façade area that can be clad with this glazing from the thermally needed surface for collectors, a major step to help architects use solar thermal on facades has been taken.

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