We do, and have done, lots of Eco-Tech Design. We really enjoy this, and see the goals of using sound materials and less energy as no different than goals of having a project be structurally sound, functional and visually pleasing – it is simply part of what is required for good design.
Often we look for opportunities to have the technologies of the home do more than just fulfill their functional role. One example is with photovoltaic panels. Usually these are placed on the roof and operate from then on in obscurity. Integrating the PV’s into the design to reap additional benefits can expand their role and even help educate about their importance in improving energy performance and lessening reliance on fossil fuels.
To this end, we are big fans of new and emerging products like bifacial photovoltaic panels, which sandwich the active PV modules between two layers of tempered glass.
The result is a PV panel that is clearly identifiable from the underside, and uses both sides of the panel to collect up to 30% additional sunlight/electricity per square foot than conventional single-sided systems.
On the LEED Platinum Coyote House, the design incorporated these type of PV’s into a rooftop mirador trellis, where it provides dappled light and shade to make a comfortable place to take in the ocean view. From trellises to carports to facade systems, these types of new technologies can be integrated into design to help make functional and dynamic places to be.