Re-inventing Construction: Proceedings of the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2010

54 harvests energy and provides a beneficial climate buffer in summer and winter. Like plant leaves, the flexible solar cladding is organized in linear strips that turn open to provide views, harvest sunlight for energy throughout the day, and create a dynami- cally changing façade that establishes the public identify of the architecture. The interior dwelling units utilize a system of movable smart curtains and tracks. These provide a low voltage DC distribution “ring” that is optimized for LED lighting with smart controls. This new domestic landscape of movable, space-making curtains brightens the dark winter months and can be configured to enclose and augment floor-based radiant heating or cooling. It is also playful and engaging—allowing people to make new connections between the “interior weather” of the domestic sphere and that of the exterior climate. LED lighting in the movable curtains can be programmed via open source software to illuminate as the wind blows, creating an ambient interior expression of the external windy environment of Hamburg. SOFT HOUSE living offers residents the freedom and flexibility to adapt their homes to fit their personal lifestyle and comfort zones. 1.) Balance-of-system (BoS) costs, including inverters and installation labor (15%) account for more than half the cost of a PV system, according to a 2010 Solar PV Balance of System Initiative Re- port by the Rocky Mountain Institute, USA. 2.) MIT Professor Marc Baldo has calculated that a polycrystalline Si panel requires over two years of use to amortize the high costs of the embodied energy in its manufacture (excluding the grey energy used in transport and installation.) 3.) Fthenakis, V., et al. (2008). “Emissions from Photovoltaic Life Cycles.” Environmental Science & Technology 42.6 (2008): 2168–2174. 4.) For the political argument, see Nye, Joseph S., Soft Power; NY: Public Affairs , 2004 5.) Contreras, Migual A., et al. “19.9%-efficient ZnO/CdS/CuInGaSe2 solar cell with 81.2% fill fac- tor.” Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications 16 (2008). In 2008 the National Re- newable Energy Laboratory demonstrated that modifications to the CIGs surface achieved 19.9% efficiency. Typical sustained efficiencies for CIGs thin films currently range from 11% to 13%. About the author: Sheila Kennedy is Professor of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- nology (MIT) and Principal of KVA ( ). Kennedy directs MATx, an interdisciplinary materials research unit at KVA that accelerates the use of sustainable digital materials in architecture, urbanism, and the design of responsive building components. KVA’s SOFT HOUSE won the IBA-Ham- burg competition in 2010; KVA’s Law School building for U Penn and KVA’s Public Ferry Terminal in Manhattan are currently under construction. KVA has received AIA Design Excellence Awards, Pro- gressive Architecture Awards, Industrial Design Excellence Awards, among others. SHEILA KENNEDY