BRE show home refurbishment uses revolutionary Polysolar transparent solar PV glazing



The BBC's Tomorrows World show home of 1998 has undergone a refurbishment for the 21st century using Polysolar's transparent PV glazing on its three storey atrium.

On Monday, BBC Radio 4's  You & Yours programme interviewed the previous Integer design team leader who explained that despite being only 15 years old, advances in environmental technology and the Code for Sustainable Homes meant the home was ripe for refurbishment.

Polysolar Ltd have provided their unique transparent solar PV glass for the refurbishment of the Integer Millennium House at the Building Research Establishment in Watford.  The 3.3kW solar PV array should generate enough daytime energy to offer at least 33% of the home’s energy needs.  This is made possible thanks to the product’s unique ability to absorb ambient and reflective light on both sides and in lower light conditions. 

The three-bedroom Integer House was first opened in 1998 as a demonstration home showcasing world leading innovation in design, intelligence, environmental performance and construction processes. A six part BBC series named ‘Dream House” covered the development.

Since then over 5000 people have visited the house and many of the technologies have been adopted into mainstream construction. Over the past 15 years though, building regulations have moved on and Integer House was starting to look tired. 

In 2013, British Gas took on the building to replicate the aims of demonstrating, in an occupied home, the very latest innovations in building and environmental technologies.  This time however, the demonstration would be through a more complex refurbishment programme rather than the original new build of the 90s. Given that over 85% of the UK’s housing stock is over 15 years old, a refurbishment project arguably represents a more realistic proposition.  Similarly, it would likely have a greater impact on reducing carbon emissions and the quality of UK housing going forward.

As in the original Integer concept, there were no contracts or budgets, with suppliers donating their materials and expertise free of charge or at cost.  BRE and British Gas identified the latest building and environmental technologies from around the world to incorporate in the house.

Polysolar’s transparent solar PV glass was selected for the project to address two pressing requirements.  The existing clear glass conservatory come atrium, which covers three floors on the South side of the building, originally provided passive heat gain to the building. This however, resulted in excessive heating when the sun came out.  Also, when originally designed the energy cost of the building was not a key issue.  Today however, CO2 reduction and electricity costs most certainly are. 

Polysolar’s innovative translucent tinted photovoltaic glass is a substitute for the original glazing. It achieves a level of shading for the conservatory, a reduction in heat gain and heat loss from the building, as well as reducing excessive glare from the sun.  This is further enhanced by the large surface area, from which clean solar electricity is generated to power the home.

The 3.3kW solar PV array should provide more energy over the year than conventional PV panels on a watt-for-watt basis thanks to the product’s unique ability to absorb ambient and reflective light on both sides and in lower light conditions.  The glass therefore works for longer during day and over the whole year. A further benefit of the product for the residents of Integer House is that because the PV glass lets through the red light spectrum required for photosynthesis the atria will be ideal for growing plants and will provide a warm pleasant environment in which to sit out in.



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