1) Sustainability Problem: Energy Use
70% of Electrical Production relies on fossil fuels and the USDA has predicted that by the 2030s electrical demand will increase by 40%. Currently, buildings use 40% of the electricity generated in the United States and this is expected to increase. Currently, photovoltaic technology, which uses sunlight to create energy, is gaining momentum as a form of renewable energy yet in order to harvest enough energy to run a commercial building, a huge swath of land must be employed. Roof-installed solar panels are not sufficient as their limited size also limits the amount of solar energy they can absorb.
1) Sustainable Technology: Solar Windows
Solar Windows Technology, Inc. has created a solution to energy production that would create acres of vertical solar farms in cities by installing solar paneled windows on skyscrapers and tall towers. They claim that this innovative technology would eliminate the need to use vast acres of land as a 50 story building could generate the same energy production as a 6-acre solar farm and allow for both electrical generation and energy banking. Solar Windows Technology, Inc is targeting towers and skyscrapers which consume about 40% of the energy generated for electricity in the United States. They claim that financial models show that these windows could save building owners 30-50% per year and installation would have a simple payback of 1 year. According to a recent article in Newsweek, “Researchers say transparent solar cell technology that harvests invisible wavelengths of light could meet nearly 100 percent of energy demand in the United States.” While there are still issues with efficiency of solar panels, and these windows are not immune to this problem, researchers are seeing improvements and they believe that approximately “5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States could be used to meet 40 percent of the country’s energy demand, or “close to 100 percent” if energy storage is improved.”
3) Technology Stakeholder
- Sustainable Investors
- Large Building Onwers
- Solar Windows Technology Inc.
- City Agencies
- Identify a large city that has a sustainable energy problem they want to address.
- Create a public-private partnership between the chosen city, sustainable investors, and Solar Windows Technology, Inc.
- Create a multi-year timeline to roll-out solar window technology in 5 city-owned and operated buildings that have been monitoring their energy use for at least 5-10 years. This is essential to create baseline measurements.
- Install in 2 buildings over first 6 month period.
- Compare savings every 3 months after installation to the baseline measurements ensuring that the comparison covers the same period of the year (i.e. February compared to February).
- After the first year, if energy savings are 30-50% as expected, roll-out to remaining 3 buildings. If the model is successful, create a policy for new construction and building retrofits for all city-owned buildings.
5) Comment on Other Blog Post: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/09/the-benefits-of-waste-to-energy-technologies/comment-page-1/#comment-1368