Making energy from the sun is not a new idea, but students and faculty at Western Washington University are hoping to create windows that can generate power. The windows would be almost as transparent as regular glass, but would add a photovoltaic cell to the frame as well as sensors that can communicate with the HVAC system. The result would be a step towards carbon-neutral communities.
Last year the interdisciplinary team planned the concept and prototype and submitted the Phase 1 results to academic, environmental, and industrial design competitions winning $75,000 from the EPA. Phase II this year includes creation of a working prototype and entry into competition this spring.
Contributions have been made from faculty in the Colleges of Business and Economics and Science and Engineering as well as students from the Industrial Design, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, and Business programs. While a prototype is our stated goal, the benefit to working across programs and sharing alternative perspectives cannot be overlooked.
Our progress will be documented here so stop back to read about our efforts towards sustainability through innovation and cooperation.