As perishable resources start to dwindle on our planet, researchers and entrepreneurs are frantically scrambling to find alternative sources of energy to generate power for our industries. Electricity is one of them. Nuclear, coal and water are all used to generate electricity; neither of them is safe. Coal creates massive amounts of heat and toxic gases as a by product; hydro-plants heat the water so much that it kills all living organisms in it and nuclear power possesses the constant risk of blowing up.
In order to solve this energy problem, researchers have turned towards wind and electricity. For the past couple of decades, architects have been trying to incorporate these new means of energy production into their building designs as it is a sustainable way of generating energy, with minimal damage to the environment and no toxic by-product. Here are some of the architectural modifications that buildings undergo in order to generate power.
Let There Be Light
Buildings with a large surface area, such as apartments, high-rises etc. now usually possess huge glass facades that have no function except to look pretty and let the light in. While the glass curtain wall price may be high, it is ultimately worth it as it saves on electricity by lighting up the interior well enough to make day time lighting redundant except on gloomy days. Since most large buildings have no way to open up the mid-section to the outside, they use up a lot of electricity on lighting. If there are no ventilation ducts, then the air con also takes up energy. Having, a glass wall solves this problem and even adds to aesthetic appeal of the building.
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
Some buildings now have catchment tanks on their roofs to catch rain when it falls. This way, they collect water that can be used in bathrooms and for cleaning purposes. It may even be used for drinking but that requires purification first. While this may not be as effective as having a glazed curtain wall to let in the light, it still saves the amount of water that will be used in the many restrooms in a large building and also saves the energy needed to pump it around. Even small houses can have a catchment tank on their roofs; all you need is a fairly flat area to build a tank and leave it open during rain.
You Are My Sunshine
One of the easiest modifications to do to a building is to set up solar panels and hook up the local grid so that the solar-powered electricity can feed into the main power grid. Some buildings may be in a better position to receive sunlight than others, but any building can have a panel or two to catch some rays. Even if the sunlight is not strong enough to charge a battery (for night time usage), it will still save you the day time electric bill. In some countries, they even let you fix it so that your meter turns backwards whenever there is excessive production through the panels.