The Energy Positive PV Roof -Tile House:
A house that is so energy positive it costs nothing to run and actually gives you a cash return is actually possible. I designed one last year and it is under construction at the moment (2018).
This house is only 160 sqm in size and was designed to be used as an entertainment/bar area for a new infinity swimming pool. There is a guest suite attached to the entertainment area, so in effect it is a medium sized house.
The infinity pool is integral to the design and was designed to take in ocean views. Initially the client was investigating ways of heating the new pool. One of these was increasing the amount of PV cells he had on the existing house. As the brief progressed and the limitations of the current roof became apparent the concept of building the “Energy Positive pool house” was conceived.
Power Generation From Sun Exceeds Power Consumed:
The disclaimer here when I claim this house is Energy Positive is that I am only talking about total power generation from the sun compared to power required by the house. There are other factors, such as the energy embodied in the products used to construct the house that are not considered here. The brief for this house was not about maximising the energy efficient design, but to be independent off the power grid, provide a pleasant, upmarket party space for the pool in summer and accommodate the occasional overnight guest.
The Perfect Climate for Solar Energy Generation:
Solar energy PV cells are popular here in South Australia. Much of this is due to the Governments Energy initiatives including Energy rebates for Solar power generation. Adelaide, South Australia has been voted as having one of the best climates in the world. The criteria included total number of days with blue skies, little cloud cover and temperatures ranging within the mid 20’s to 30’s (75 to 90 Fahrenheit). This is also perfect for using PV cells on your roof to generate power.
Design of the Energy Positive House:
One recent advancement in PV cells for housing is to create a roof tile that is also a PV cell. The rational behind this is that solar panels on a roof are usually ugly. Roof tiles that include the PV cell within them and are virtually indistinguishable from the non-PV cell tiles next to them are a great idea. Tesla currently has one on the market, but there is also an excellent, but lesser known Australian product called “Tractile” available. They were the first Building Intergrated Solar Thermal PV (BIPV-T) product on the market and are a Queensland based company that has won Australian design awards for their innovative product.
The novel solution used by Tractile is to have a water jacket built into its PV tile, much like the principal of the radiator in your car. This cools down the PV cell and allows greater power generation for the same solar input. Reports of up to 100% increase above other PV cells have been made.
By utilising Tractile PV cells for the entire 160sqm of the new Pool-house roof there should be enough power generation to supply the pool-house with energy, power the existing house and heat the pool.
Follow the PV Roofed Pool-house Build:
As this is such an interesting project I will post throughout the construction process and continue until we have compiled a year of data for the power generation. I have also started up a google plus photo collection more fully documenting the build pictorially and if you care to check out my Google plus FOLLOW button at the top of the page there will be posts as we progress.