Innovative Photovoltaic Translucent Components for the Building Envelope

Rossella Corrao, Marco Morini, Luisa Pastore


International directives that regulates buildings energy efficiency and environmental sustainability establish strict parameters for the construction of a new generation of “Zero Energy Buildings” indicating transmittance limits for building envelope components and encouraging the use of renewable sources. In this sense, the PV sector aims at the definition of novel efficient solutions for the integration in the building envelope, standing out for their multifunctional features. After an overview on the main PV technologies and building integrated applications, focusing on semi-transparent envelope solutions, the paper shows the results of a research that is being carried out at the Department of Architecture of the University of Palermo, aimed to define innovative solutions for the construction of photovoltaic and energy efficient translucent building envelopes. In particular, the research focuses on the optimization of glassblock panels in terms of thermal insulation, light transmittance, energy production and mechanical resistance. New configurations of glassblock were designed in order to reduce its U value and integrate 3rd generation PV technologies for the production of green energy. Furthermore, a dry assembly system has been designed for the construction of translucent prestressed panels made of DSC integrated glassblocks that are able to guarantee high levels of resistance to horizontal actions and to build translucent, photovoltaic and efficient building envelopes even in dry, tropical and temperate areas or in unfavourable light conditions.


Building Envelope, DSC, Glassblock, BIPV

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