Smart active house building

Peder Vejsig Pedersen from Cenergia Energy Consultants looks at how integrated PV solutions can be used for smart house building…

At the same time as the cost of PV panels and related technologies remaining low every year, ongoing work is still taking place in Denmark to develop new low-cost mounting and integration systems for both roofs and facades. Here with focus on ultimate solutions where PV panels can actually substitute normal building materials, so the use of nice architecturally integrated BIPV solutions in many cases can be realised, at very competitive costs even based on the new legislation for use of PV in Denmark.

In the ongoing ForskVE projects, BIPV Quality Cities and PV Active Roofs and Facades, Gate 21, Cenergia and other partners with Kuben Management, Technological Institute, AAU, EnergiMidt, Solar City Denmark and FBBB is working respectively with cities and housing associations to support the development of good BIPV solutions, with a view to use so-called “Solar Watch” systems to secure principles for detailed monitoring, follow up and quality control. A number of workshops are organised with the involved stakeholders to support practical implementation work and the full understanding of the new PV rules in Denmark. As well as, how you can still realise cost effective PV projects if you base the design on more limited size projects, where most of the PV electricity can be used in the hour it is produced in.

In connection to this, it has been clear that when you deal with new build and deep renovation projects of the future, quite small PV systems can actually play an important role not only in ensuring that the new low energy class 2020 can be met in practice, but even with a possibility to reach a zero energy or even plus energy building standard. It has now been possible to identify a number of housing associations and cities who are interested in being involved in a dedicated campaign concerning this together with agreements concerning “Performance Documentation”. It is possible to secure a good energy balance in practice, both with respect to the actual energy consumption/ solar PV production, and the total economy for the users. When the results are being disseminated through the national data base for sustainable and energy efficient buildings in Denmark, which is administrated by the Danish Association of Sustainable Cities and Buildings, FBBB, then the proposed project can have a strong impact concerning integration of BIPV, which will actually benefit society.

A Danish Smart Active House demonstration project has been suggested for 50 new build housing units linked to an existing district heating network, here utilising the international Active House standard.

Here, it has been suggested to combine a local low-temperature microgrid distribution network for the houses, combined with a solar heated buffer tank and a local heat pump, which secures very low return temperature to the district heating system. As well as this, there is 0.5 kWp local building integrated PV for the houses combined with selected roofs near the common house, where the whole roofs are BIPV connected to a local battery system, which also charge the heat pump and local electrical cars. As part of the Active House, design is used as an integrated and web-based local performance documentation system including comfort.

As well as the ongoing Nordic Built Living in Light project, co-ordinated by Kuben Management, a new concept of urban renewal will be tested at Gammel Jernbanevej in Valby, Copenhagen. Here, a four storey old housing block built around the 1900 will have new rooftop apartments and an extension measuring approximately two metres towards the courtyard. The extension mainly consists of an innovative window structure from Danish company Velfac. This considerably increases the daylight quality of the apartments without compromising comfort and energy use. At the same time, building integrated PV solutions secure an overall CO2 neutral design for the renovation project.

Peder Vejsig Pedersen

Cenergia Energy Consultants, Cenergia ApS

Tel: +45 446 60099

+45 204 66755


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