Mind & Matter


Solar Thermal Roof Tiles

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Credit: SolTech Energy


As solar power becomes more desirable, a larger number of photovoltaic panels will appear on rooftops. However, one of the major stumbling blocks of renewable energy is that it often requires additional equipment and resources beyond those needed to merely enclose a building. Moreover, additional layers of equipment can violate the integrity of the roof membrane if installed incorrectly.


For solar-thermal applications, a new roofing system by Swedish company SolTech Energy offers a novel solution to these challenges. The system replaces conventional ceramic tiles with transparent modules of glass tiles at a similar weight. The glass tiles magnify the sun's heat and greatly increase the temperature of the air encapsulated within the structure of the roof. This hot air is then used to heat water that circulates throughout a building (air-based systems are also an option).

Winner of a gold medal at this year's Nordbygg trade fair in Stockholm, the SolTech roof demonstrates that energy harnessing need not be a separate material investment, but can be cleverly integrated within a single building envelope.




Comments (5 Total)

  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 5:12 AM Friday, June 07, 2013

    As you might have heard, right now there’s a big debate regarding the future of the web. Some people argue that the web as we know it is dying, and that it’s going to be replaced by a closed web, experienced through individual apps like the mobile ones. Others argue that this won’t happen, and that the web will remain open and accessible mainly via the browser, be it on a mobile device or on a desktop computer.

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  • Posted by: thebuilderdepot | Time: 8:22 AM Tuesday, May 01, 2012

    I do appreciate and enjoyed this post. I shall return to your site! Thank you.

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  • Posted by: Tangbochi | Time: 6:26 PM Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Silly! It's only money - you make more than that this month. Planet's are hard to replace. Got one for sale? Ta!

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  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 9:00 AM Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    you have that right! until the cost comes down don't count on anthing but the highend corporate users with deep pockets. get the ROI in the 3 to 5 year range and you will sell all you can make.

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  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 12:01 PM Monday, October 25, 2010

    Great idea. Just deliver to me @ $3-$4/sf instsalled & I wil be your #1 fan Curtis L Biggar Architect/CGP

    Report this as offensive

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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.