Bringing colours to solar collectors: a contribution to an increased building "integrability"
One main obstacle to facade integration of solar thermal collectors lies in the formal characteristics and low flexibility of available products. Major problems are the black and irregular appearance of their absorbers, their low dimensional flexibility and large size at the façade scale, and finally the lack of dummy elements. This paper presents a revolutionary though simple solution to all these problems, consisting in a novel coloured glass, able to mask absorber and piping while letting the solar energy pass through. Different colours can be produced and combined with different diffusing surface treatments on the glass outer side, finally offering a broad palette of novel glazing. These resulting glazing not only hide the black colour of the absorber and its imperfections, but can also be used as facade cladding on the non exposed areas of the building envelope, opening the way to the concept of active solar facades and offering a new level of freedom to architects