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  • Writer's pictureCharlie McNeill Love

7 Smart Solar-Powered Buildings Around The World

The future energy source.

Scientists believe that, in 2022, solar energy is on track to supply 60% of the world’s renewable power. It is likely to become the most popular energy source for modern architecture and construction, with more and more buildings, offices, landmarks and sites of importance relying on solar for power.

We’ve explored some of the finest and most creative buildings promoting and utilising solar power in 2022, and showcased just how much of an impact their work has had on the future of construction and real estate sustainability.

Housing one of the world’s biggest car manufacturing sites, the Tesla Gigafactory (or Giga Nevada) marks one of the most important steps toward sustainable and eco-friendly vehicle production. Consistently expanding its use of solar panels, Tesla aims to create the ‘largest rooftop deployment of solar power’ in operation today.

Originally constructed in June 2014, the Gigafactory is specifically designed to create electric motors and battery packs for the iconic Tesla vehicles, and has plans to become a net-zero energy factory upon its completion.

The Copenhagen International School in Denmark is another significant landmark in the movement toward sustainable construction. Providing 50% of the building’s energy, the school is coated in 12,000 solar panels, perfectly angled and designed to create a sequin pattern on the exterior of the building.

Installed by architecture firm CF Moller, the solar panels used on this large waterfront building cover a total area of 6,048 square meters and have become a crucial part of the country’s goals of sustainability.

In a rapidly developing movement, eco-friendly and green hotels are becoming increasingly popular amongst tourists and developers. Drawing inspiration from the natural aesthetic of the sundial, this enormous structure in Dezhou, China is broadcasting itself as the largest solar-powered building in the world.

With a roof covered in over 5000 m2 solar panels generating energy-saving efficiency of up to 88%, as well as a significant reduction in the pollution around the area, the Sun-Moon Maison is widely recognised as a staple of sustainable construction.

Undeniably one of the iconic buildings in the world, the White House in DC - home to the president of the United States, has become a leader in solar-powered technologies. Implemented in the late 1970s, the White House solar panels were first actioned by Jimmy Carter and have been maintained and improved, continuing to provide the building with solar energy ever since.

Despite being temporarily removed from the building due to a leak, the panels were reinstated by Barack Obama during his term as president in the 2010s. Predominantly used to provide hot water to the building, as well as energy, the panels have been a fixture of America’s movement towards more sustainable buildings across the country.

Apple’s Spaceship HQ, or Apple Park, in California is another great example of modern technology meeting solar energy. Designed in a grand circular structure, this eco-friendly building created a campus for one of the world’s largest businesses in 2017, after its CEO, Steve Jobs, sadly passed away.

With an artificial pond, drought-resistant trees, carefully created green spaces and indigenous plants, the campus is described to be made up of 80% landscape - creating a truly environmentally area of land. Now powered by 100% renewable solar energy, with a 17-megawatt onsite rooftop solar installation sustaining the entire campus.

General Electric’s headquarters in Boston has become another important site of solar and sustainable power, with a developed ‘solar veil’ generating enormous amounts of energy for the building. With additional green features of the site including easy access to public transportation for all employees, green vegetated roof areas and a recycling of existing buildings - as opposed to demolishing and rebuilding them.

Their fully-covered solar-panelled rooftop system has secured them a position in the top ‘quintile of similar buildings using the Energy Use Index’, and has made them a popular choice for eco-conscious employees, clients and customers.

In 2013, the world’s very first fully solar-panelled home was created in Germany - established and named the Heliotrope. Designed by architect Ralph Disch, the house was built to become the first zero-energy home in the world, with a roof-mounted solar array and built-in solar thermal pipes.

The Heliotrope house offers triple-pane windows for secure insulation and is constructed in a kinetic circular design to follow the sun at all hours of the day. The ‘Heliotrope’ structure has since been replicated and copied in a number of spaces across the world, creating a modern trend of sustainable domestic architecture.

Smart, secure and solar-powered buildings are undeniably the future of sustainable living, and with more industries adopting them into their business models, it’s a lucrative and promising concept.

Find out how Cefinco can help your smart building goals, and get in touch today.


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