Singapore, 11th February 2010
Aren’t we continuously bombarded with technical jargon in our job? I am not so sure about Europe or the US, but Asia loves it abbreviations! BIPV or Building Integrated Photo Voltaic is the subject I actually wanted to discuss yesterday as we have just embarked on the conceptual design of some above ground railway stations for Singapore’s mass rapid transport (MRT) system. We are doing one of the several contracts as part of a consortium that has been awarded over the last year by the government. I assume that the designers in the other contracts have been asked the same, but in our case sustainable lighting design has been a part of the brief. This means not only maximizing day light but also looking at options for renewable energy.
We are exploring the possibility of incorporating PV (photo voltaic) cells, solar collectors, into the building to generate energy for the lighting and maybe more. While we are researching the surface required per watt of power needed for the lighting, the architect is looking into ways to integrate the solar panels into the building design…hence the term BIPV. There are different ways of doing this as PV cells come in different formats and configurations. They come as a solid panels but also embedded in glass allowing light to filter trough. So early coordination with the architect are crucial.
Like day lighting, applying BIPV opens a whole new area of expertise for us as lighting designers as we need to expand our knowledge to be able to understand the technical requirements and provide meaningful input to the architect.