‘Go Green’ is the buzz word in the construction arena, and solar roof shingles are creating a lot of interest in this niche. With zero carbon building codes set to become the norm in the UK and Europe within the next four years, homeowners and construction contractors alike are seeking building and roofing solutions that are environmentally friendly and effective. And to meet this demand, research has been booming into the feasibility of harnessing solar energy through roof shingles.
Solar roofing shingles were conventionally used to deploy photovoltaic cells that transform the sun’s energy into electricity, which would be used to power lights, fans and other appliances in the home. Any surplus current generated could be stored in capacitors for later use, or even returned to the power utility’s grid in exchange for credits or cash.
The older design of solar shingles left much to be desired. Outsized shiny sheets of metallic shingles detracted from the building’s appearance, making many homeowners think twice. Not any longer. Modern solar shingles have the photovoltaic elements seamlessly integrated into their design, making them virtually unnoticeable and thus permit aesthetically appealing homes to be energy efficient.
And the innovation in solar shingles is only growing better. In the race for premier position in the marketplace for ‘carbon positive’ building and roofing materials, Dow Solar has surged ahead with the creation of solar roofing shingles that not only generate electricity but also create thermal impact. Their PowerHouse shingles maintain homes at a constant temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, even during winter. The prototype developed in New South Wales is due for more extensive field testing in Australia shortly, after which it will be made available to a broader market.
In the United States, initiatives along similar lines are underway at the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in Philadelphia – a working laboratory supported with funding from the U. S. Department of Energy that is meant to spur the spread of this technology as it is refined and improved.
The time is ripe for a green revolution. The general public roundly condemns the use of material that makes the environment unsafe for future generations. A steep ‘carbon tax’ on corporations and individuals who violate these laws acts as a strong deterrent. And constantly improving technology makes it impossible to move backwards to an unsafe and inefficient past. Solar shingles are spearheading the innovation in green roofing – and that’s a Good Thing!
About the author: Bertram Wentzler blogs about green roofing solutions and solar roof shingles at RoofShinglesPrice.