Interview Aukje Kuijpers: The solar design facade at Kuijpers in Helmond
Who would have ever thought that a joke would lead to a worldwide first of the solar design facade? In 2018, Kuijpers’ office in Helmond will be equipped with the world’s first interactive, energy-generating design facade by Solarix.
Managing Director Aukje Kuypers says that she saw the potential of an energy-generating and luminous facade for one of Kuijpers’ office buildings in Helmond. All this based on an idea of the Solarix founders Marloes van Heteren and Reinier Bosch, where an integrated concept makes it possible to generate energy and at the same time gives a building more identity and appearance.
“They needed an object so I joked that they could use some square footage to give the outside of the office a sustainable and beautiful business card.”
The consequence? The first interactive, energy-generating design facade developed by Solarix in collaboration with Kuijpers, Kameleon Solar and Sorba and with the support of SPARK Campus and the municipality of Helmond.
Where did the interest in the solar design facade come from?
Kuypers indicates that the idea of using facades for energy generation had already been considered. After all, there are many square meters of wall available in the built environment. In addition, sustainable solutions are a standard mindset for the Kuypers family. For her and a few others, Solarix’s solution was therefore a logical idea, but it was not (yet) the standard in the market.
“The unique thing about Solarix’s solar design facade is that it really gives a building something extra. Durable and functional doesn’t have to be ugly, the design just looks great.”
Kuypers was therefore particularly enthusiastic about the individuality and character of the product. In addition, she also believes that beautifully made products last longer.
How did the idea of LED lighting come about?
The built environment actually takes away a part of nature, says Kuypers. By including LED lighting in the facade that moves with the environment, that part is reduced again. “The facade is in fact a shell that moves with it and the solar cells that are used to generate energy can be traced back to photosynthesis on the leaves of trees.”
The LED lighting also communicates with the environment because it is linked to data from the KNMI. This allows it to color along with the sunset sky, for example. An extra that allows it to simulate weather changes and thus communicate with the environment.
Does a solar design facade really generate energy?
The design facade generates so much energy that it provides full lighting for the building when everyone is present. An energy production that is equivalent to three houses. In addition, it has also been measured that the solar design facade has an added value compared to roof solar panels, because a facade can still produce energy in the winter period when the sun is lower.
It was also worth the investment! A cheaper solution could have been chosen, such as painting the facade, or an even more expensive solution, such as cladding the facade. Besides the fact that neither of these results in anything sustainable and energetic, there is a big crucial difference that makes one think about investing:
“A solar panel facade generates energy and therefore has a payback period during which you depreciate other solutions and do not earn them back.”
In addition, we also use the facade for communication purposes. For example, the facade will turn orange if we participate in ‘Orange the world’, in which worldwide attention is drawn to violence against women, or it will color along with carnival in all colors of the rainbow. In this way, the facade is also a connecting element towards social themes.
Are design solar panels facades the future?
Kuypers thinks so, because she sees that people are acting more and more consciously and sustainably, also in the built environment. She really believes in the product and the vision of Solarix after the successful and transparent collaboration.
“The energy transition we are now in requires such innovations and developments and the fact remains that solar design facade panels are not only beautiful, but also generate energy and integrate it with the environment.”
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