A startup designs prefabricated facades that turn energy-hungry buildings into electricity providers


Ecoworks

A German renovation company is generating a lot of interest in its ability to make old buildings truly energy efficient simply by covering them with a big “coat”.

Taking a 3D scan of a house, they prefabricate timber panels of identical shape and scale to attach to the exterior, and have turned Germany’s most inefficient buildings into net energy producers.

Called Ecoworks, the panels they manufacture feature integrated solar panels and insulation, meaning they can be installed on the host building in as little as 20 minutes.

They are made from wood that has been harvested after achieving optimal carbon capture.

In a demonstration, a 1930s apartment building that used 450 kilowatt hours per square meter of space (catastrophically inefficient, even by American standards) was fitted with Ecoworks panels while the company monitored changes in energy consumption .

Heating, cooling and electricity have become so inexpensive that solar panels on the roof have made it a carbon-negative building, when it was previously listed as one of the least efficient in the whole country.

AFTER: Solar panels that generate electricity at night are finally here – and they’re cheap and don’t need batteries

This summer, the startup has seven more projects in the works, identifying which structures will be best suited for technology using AI.

Ecoworks

Soulless buildings work best, but they try as quickly as possible to adapt the panels for use in family homes, schools, and even buildings in other countries.

RELATED: Solar panels that generate electricity at night are finally here – and they’re cheap and don’t need batteries

In Germany alone, writes Adele Peters of Fast Company, 30 million buildings will need to be renovated over the next five years to meet the prescribed climate targets.

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