Our paper entitled Optimising building net energy demand with dynamic BIPV shading led by colleagues at ETH Zurich, has been published in Applied Energy.
The utilisation of a dynamic photovoltaic system for adaptive shading can improve building energy performance by controlling solar heat gains and natural lighting, while simultaneously generating electricity on site. This paper firstly presents an integrated simulation framework to couple photovoltaic electricity generation to building energy savings through adaptive shading. A high-resolution radiance and photovoltaic model calculates the photovoltaic electricity yield while taking into account partial shading between modules. The remaining solar irradiation that penetrates the window is used in a resistance-capacitance building thermal model. A simulation of all possible dynamic configurations is conducted for each hourly time step, of which the most energy efficient configuration is chosen. We then utilise this framework to determine the optimal orientation of the photovoltaic panels to maximise the electricity generation while minimising the building’s heating, lighting and cooling demand. An existing adaptive photovoltaic facade was used as a case study for evaluation. Our results report a 20–80% net energy saving compared to an equivalent static photovoltaic shading system depending on the efficiency of the heating and cooling system. In some cases the Adaptive Solar Facade can almost compensate for the entire energy demand of the office space behind it. The control of photovoltaic production on the facade, simultaneously with the building energy demand, opens up new methods of building management as the facade can control both the production and consumption of electricity.