Photovoltaics and zero energy buildings: A new opportunity and challenge for design

Alessandra Scognamiglio, Harald N. Røstvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


Starting from the end of 2020, all new buildings will have to be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (Nearly ZEBs - ED 2010/31/EU recast). This new 'energy paradigm' might be a revolution for architecture and for Photovoltaics (PV) too, but there are both cultural and technical obstacles to overcome. There is a need to re-think the way buildings are designed (integrating renewables for being ZE). There is a need to re-think the way PV is designed in buildings. PV will be gaining an increasing relevance in the ZEBs design, thanks to its features and potentialities (suitability for any kind of energy demand of the building, easiness of building integration, cost). In a ZEB scenario, PV is very suitable for generating energy, 'on site' and 'at site'; this enlarges the perspective of use of PV from the architectural scale to a wider scale, including the space close to the building or even to the urban and landscape scale. In such a new context, the existing research on the relationships between PV and architecture, focusing mainly on the way the PV components are used in relation to the envelope (Building-integrated PV/Building-added (Attached) PV), is no longer sufficient. The authors envision possible formal results, opportunities and challenges, for the use of PV in ZEBs, as well as new research issues for the future relationships between PV and ZEBs from the architecture and landscape design point of view. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319 - 1336
Number of pages18
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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