Germany’s Blauhaus doesn’t hide its solar panels — it flaunts them

Many people don’t mind slapping solar panels on their roofs, especially if they’ll only be seen on Google satellite images. You’ll come up with a lot of results if you search “Solar panels are ugly,”  but not everyone thinks so. In fact, on the campus of German university Hochschule Niederrhein, you’ll find the Blauhaus, or Blue House, which makes having solar panels a statement. The entire building is covered in them.

The majority of the building’s face is made up of photovoltaic cells, while the bottom is covered in glass, where sustainable energy displays will visible to those cruising by. The panels are rotated depending on the sun’s angle.

Kadawittfeldarchitektur built the energy-efficient, zero-emission center on the college to passive house standards, according to Architect’s Newspaper. That means the total energy to be used for heating, water, and electricity can’t exceed 120 kilowatt hours per square meter per year. The building is also airtight and the temperature of the living areas can’t reach over 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) for more than 10 percent of the time.

“The special facade consisting of oppositely inclined, blue-tinged glass and photovoltaic elements has been designed to perfectly suit the orientation and incidence of solar radiation,” according to the building’s designers.

In addition to the building itself being a visible symbol of energy-efficiency, the interior has an energy center and energy laboratory called the Innovatorium. It also houses a library and offices, as well as a terrace on the roof.

A team at Michigan State University has been working on a fully transparent solar cell, but who knows? Maybe Blauhaus’s aesthetic will catch on.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

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Computing

Samsung permits peek at an eye-popping, 15-inch 4K OLED laptop display

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Product Review

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Outdoors

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Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

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Smart Home

You can play NPR’s ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’ on your smart speaker

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Product Review

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Smart Home

Walabot Home, a device aimed at keeping seniors safe, expands its capabilities

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Smart Home

Allergies acting up? Thes best air purifiers on the market can offer relief

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Smart Home

Hackers hijack Nest camera, issue fake warning of North Korea missile attack

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Smart Home

Starbucks coffee delivery lands in 6 more cities via Uber Eats

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Computing

Think someone's leeching off your Wi-Fi connection? Here's how to find out

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Smart Home

Sing with Freddie Mercury with the ‘Ay-Oh with Bohemian Rhapsody’ Alexa skill

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Smart Home

Instant Pot Duo vs. Lux: Which multicooker is really better?

The Instant Pot Duo and the Instant Pot Lux are two of Instant Pots' best-selling models and both are great options. But what’s the difference between the two? Which one is better? Let's break it down.