Metal Architecture Home

Louvers, Grilles, Sunscreens and Awnings

BIPV Technology Powers the Future: The Answer to Cleaner, More Affordable Energy is Right Above Your Head

With rising oil prices comes the call for an alternative energy source that must be three things: affordable, renewable and easy to integrate into existing infrastructure. While many other energy sources, such as wind and geothermal, are renewable, neither offers simple or cost-effective solutions. Until recently, solar energy has fallen victim to these same flaws.

As the future of solar energy, building integrated photovoltaic technology takes the promising advantages of solar roofing and makes them an obtainable reality. Most importantly, BIPV technology is vital to creating an affordable alternative energy option capable of boosting metal roofing's sustainable profile to mainstream status.

Integrated seamlessly into new or existing standing-seam applications, BIPVs offer round-the-clock return on investment. During the day, a standing-seam roof with thin-film solar laminates converts sunlight into usable energy, even during overcast conditions. At night, the roof's durable design and construction provides the same weather resistance of a traditional standing-seam roof.

 

These innovative features, combined with widespread incentive programs, can lower ROI to less than 10 years in some states. This benchmark in affordability has never been reached on such a large-scale solar roof system.

BIPV's rise in popularity serves as a testament to its promise and simplicity. In January, the readers of Metal Architecture were introduced to EnergyPeak, the first complete, standardized BIPV system available for standing- seam metal roofing applications. Since that time, interest in EnergyPeak has continued to rise with the increasing popularity of BIPVs.

Members of the metal roofing industry are quickly recognizing the excellent opportunity to lead the way to a greener building future. In fact, EnergyPeak has been almost overwhelmed by the amount of interest in this new technology. Everyone from building owners to architects express excitement in learning more about standing seam's role in greening their projects.

 

Just as standing-seam manufacturers benefited from EnergyPeak's release, architects are now benefiting from its implementation and adoption by the manufacturers. With more than 20 standing-seam manufacturers signed to provide it and more to come, the EnergyPeak system will soon be available from more than 75 percent of the industry.

Unlike previous solar roofing options, EnergyPeak allows architects to specify a proven integrated solution without researching and designing a new system for each project. With architects in mind, EnergyPeak has streamlined the BIPV specification process with a number of features.

For example, all electrical and panel drawings are designed and formatted for each of EnergyPeak's six system sizes. These predetermined system sizes (5kW, 10kW, 15kW, 30kW, 60kW and 120kW) offer architects the right system size for their project. Specifications targeting the necessary requirements are already written. Finally, EnergyPeak's widespread availability and competitive bidding benefits make alternative energy more easily attainable than ever before.

 

One of the newest tools added to the program is EnergyPeak's new Web site, www.energypeak.com. In addition to serving as an informational resource about everything from solar laminates to specifications, the new Web site allows architects to obtain a customized ROI report by contacting one of the Energy- Peak providers listed on the site.

Utilizing EnergyPeak's exclusive, state-of-the-art ROI calculator, the reports provide a detailed analysis of a project's expected energy output, available government and utility company incentives, and ROI.

The Web site also includes a frequently updated list of EnergyPeak providers complete with provider information and links. As this list continues to grow in the coming months, architects will have a large selection of the industry's top manufacturers from all over North America. With this widespread availability, BIPV technology offers architects and the standing-seam roofing industry a tremendous opportunity to stake a claim in the increasingly important and profitable green building market.

 

Rick Mowrey is director of marketing and business development for Moon Township, Pa.-based CENTRIA Services Group, a division of CENTRIA. For more information, visit www.centria.com and www.energypeak.com.