Two technologies that are changing the way buildings are constructed are solar tiles and super-efficient windows. Solar tiles are improvement over regular roofing tiles, which are constructed using energy intensive processes and only protect the building from the elements. Unlike traditional roof-mounted panels, solar tiles are incorporated directly into building construction and both protect and generate energy.
Triple-glazed windows use three layers of glass with krypton injected between panes for insulation purposes. In addition, the fully insulated frames used to mount them also contribute to the energy savings. Since up to 30% of a building’s heating and cooling energy is lost from the windows, triple glazed construction can contribute to significant savings, even if they are more expensive to produce.
The Western Washington Solar Window project seeks to combine both these cutting edge technologies into one product. The group at Western is composed of Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Design, and Business majors creating a window that is no only efficient, but also generates electricity. Not only does this save on energy costs, but it is a huge step towards sustainable and carbon-neutral construction.
The team will be participating in upcoming academic competitions, developing a prototype and business plan for this exciting project.