Energy Saving Eniday Renewables

Building self sufficiency

Nicholas Newman Eniday June 2016
two electricians installing solar panels on a building.
Two electricians installing solar panels on a building.

Increasingly we are seeing more and more buildings producing their own power to provide internal heat and power, but also export power to the grid. It is becoming common practice for new and old buildings including offices, shopping centres, factories and homes to provide some or all their own power, through the installation of roof top solar panels, micro-hydro schemes, onsite generators fueled by gas. In fact,the new Rabobank headquarters building in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands is set to become the world’s first building to be fitted with electricity-generating windows to provide power to charge employees phones, laptops etc. Nicholas Newman looks at the ways buildings are becoming more self-sufficient in meeting their power needs…

For millennia, people have harnessed fire, water and wind to heat, light or cool their buildings. Flour mills, water-driven or wind-powered, are probably the most ancient of man’s alliance with the elements. The industrial revolution brought greater scale to this self-power generation, as seen in the textile mills whose looms were driven by water and later by steam. Today, thanks to a more sophisticated range of technologies, there are many more buildings, both old and new, generating their own power for heating, lighting and cooling, with any surplus being sold to the grid.

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