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30 Innovations

that have


the face of

the built


Bill Dunster OBE:
Glass / Glass Mono BIPV 

Bill Dunster OBE, Architect and Founder of ZedFactory

Glass / Glass Mono BIPV

The mass production of monocrystalline solar electric silicon wafers laminated between two sheets of glass with 3 mm gaps that transmit daylight has been an influential technology. These products are often called glass or glass mono building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

These BIPVs are game changing technologies because you can seamlessly integrate solar power generating products into the design of a building. It’s also becoming more affordable. So, for the same price as a terracotta rainscreen, you can cover almost any building in a translucent energy harvesting skin. A design team can use this material to ensure the final building generates more renewable electricity every year than it consumes — generating enough carbon credits from fossil powered grid avoidance to repay their embodied CO2 debt over their lifetime.

This is a cultural milestone, because we can now design climate neutral buildings and infrastructure that make no net contribution to accelerating climatic change. However, design teams should consider how they can minimise embodied CO2 through careful construction detailing.

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