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Natural Awakenings National

Australian Office Building to Feature Solar Facade

Tall building with solar panels for siding

rendering by Neoscape

A rooftop solar array and 1,182 solar panels on the sides will adorn an eight-story, $40 million, high-rise planned for West Melbourne, Australia, to provide the office building with most of its power. Avancis, a German firm producing glass panels containing solar cells, will supply the solar skin. Architect Pete Kennon says, “These things are possible, and the fact that a building can harness the sunlight from its own skin, it sounds like something you dreamed of, or you saw in a cartoon.” Generating 50 times as much power as a typical home rooftop solar array, the solar skin will save an estimated 77 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Although this will be the first in Australia to use the panels, several projects in Europe have been built with the technology, including the world’s largest wooden skyscraper in Skellefteå, Sweden. “It feels urgent to innovate our building technologies to more sustainable methods,” says Kennon. “Collecting solar is a natural trajectory on our large-scale projects, particularly in locations that have great access to sunlight.”

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