Monthly Archives: February 2012

Architecture, Environment, and Photovoltaic’s

Excerpt from my review of the book “Architecture and the Environment” By David Lloyd Jones; January 27 2002.

“Architecture and the Environment,” is a book that examines green architecture by talking about the ways of achieving this architecture. Jones takes a look at forty-four buildings that use different techniques to make good architecture by combining nature and architecture. In the end he talks about where the future of “green” architecture has to go in order to make a difference in architecture and the environment. Jones has many interesting ideas and concepts about green architecture.

Nature is an integral part of architecture throughout history. The most basic principles of architecture are based on nature and man. From the primitive hut to modern architecture that uses solar panels, solarium’s, and Jones talks about a new technology called photovoltaic.

“Photovoltaic technology is a groundbreaking technology that if fully integrated into architecture in the next decade it will change the face of both the environment and the way architecture is built. The technology is amazing, it captures the sun’s radiant energy and produces electrical current that is sent to batteries or put into a building-integrated application. Even though this technology right now only captures 10-15 percent in its current state. That percent will increase when the technology gets better and the competition for the technology increases, this will cause an increase in the rate at which the technology will expand. I believe that the idea of using the energy from nature and the environment to allow the building to use less manufactured products and therefore less energy, and the idea that you can create great architecture without having to use heavy machinery that would produce harmful exhaust that would cause the deterioration of the environment even farther than it is now is what green architecture is all about.”

Fast forward almost 10 years later to present day.

From 2000 to 2010, the growth of Photovoltaic’s has been impressive. The 2010 total installed PV capacity in the world has increase 27 times its capacity in 2000, from 1.5 GW in 2000 to 39.5 GW in 2010 – a yearly growth rate of 40%.(1)

This move toward a more sustainable energy solution marks an exciting time in our history. However, even with though solar energy being the most abundant form of energy on earth, it is still only used to create less than 1% of all energy consumed around the world.

There are pros and cons to using any type of energy, and solar power is no exception. But with the world population months away from 7,000,000,000, sustainable technologies like photovoltaic’s, need be developed and utilized more if we are going to stop the rapid pollution of our environment.

Written By: Justin Moench

(1) Data and charts provided by EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association)