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FS40 - BIPV/T modular roof development for zero-energy prefabricated housing production

Written by: CIC Start Online

"BIPV/T modular roof development for zero-energy prefabricated housing production" by Glasgow School of Art and Powerwall Systems Ltd


Scottish homes today are conspicuous energy consumers emitting on average 3 ton-CO2 per house annually which is much higher than the UK average of 2.75 ton-CO2. Moreover, 26% of the households are actually facing fuel poverty. Having recognised the imminent issues, Powerwall Space Frame Systems Ltd. is well aware of the need for the delivery of energy efficient ‘affordable’ homes and started the business with their ‘£57k Affordable Home’ to penetrate the mass housing market in Scotland.

The feature of their prefabricated modular homes include: high thermal performance external building envelope and internal air-tightness. However, the challenge of the company today still remains about how to deliver ‘zero-energy’ affordable homes, which may require the installation of relatively expensive renewable energy technologies. The technologies are readily available on the market today. However, they tend to be mono-functional lacking building integration for value-added optimal performance. Thus, to reduce the installation cost and increase the value of the application to affordable modular homes, the optimal ‘combinability’ of renewable systems and their building ‘integration’ techniques need to be examined thoroughly towards the development of building integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPV/T) modular roof products that can contribute to mass construction of zero-energy affordable homes in Scotland and beyond.

The applicant of this grant application previously led CIC Start Online feasibility studies on the theoretical capacity of PV/T heat recovery systems based on EESLISM model and identified potential benefits of the hybrid renewable energy technology applied to homes in Scotland. Also, he has been involved in a number of low to zero-carbon affordable housing projects; however, the dissemination of such hybrid innovations tends to be hampered due to the absence of the manufacturers, suppliers, and advisors.

The company is currently invited to take the lead for actual production of a zero-energy mass custom home to be built in South Ayrshire around March 2012. Exploiting this opportunity, the company is planning to challenge the manufacturing of a BIPV/T modular roof to become the industry lead of the production.

Thus, this feasibility study involves the following research actions:

A. Market research for PV products and roof materials including insulation
B. PV roof and material selections
C. Development of BIPV modular roof product specifications
D. BIPV performance simulation
E. Development of a final report that identifies the expected performance of Powerwall BIPV modular roof products to be proposed and the illustration of the assemblies
F. Organising a final meeting to lead the company to thorough understanding of the project’s outcomes and outputs for further development of business plan

Key words: new building, domestic buildings, off- site construction, renewable energy, photovoltaic thermal system


Dr Masa Noguchi, The Glasgow School of Art

For Powerwall Space Frame Systems Ltd

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.


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