4.- Integrating other renewable energies: Photovoltaic and Geothermal


The architectural design of the building merges photovoltaic systems in two ideal areas: the double skin curtain wall in the south-east facing wall (where common rest areas are located) and two skylights above each of the staircase areas. The actual photovoltaic panels themselves and the double skin allow this strong natural light to be filtered into the building’s interior. The double skin facade produces 5,000 kWh per year and the skylights 5,500 kWh, leading to an annual saving of 3,570.00 euros. They contribute to the building’s positive renewable energy balance as well as encouraging research into the topic such that, in addition to producing electrical energy, the skylights aid climate control in the building, both in winter and summer. This entails an added cost in financial terms which is offset by the constant reduction in energy consumption, further research, and emission reduction.

Balance between cost, energy and financial saving, of generating energy using renewable sources in the building. Data obtained using the DOE-2 cost analysis and calculation system, and the E-Quest programme

Pich-Aguilera report on the double skin photovoltaic wall


The site covers a large enough area to allow for the creation of certain external environmental conditions to develop through the use of vegetation, and can even aid the ventilation systems using geothermal pipes on the building’s exterior. This system, which conditions outdoor air naturally before ducting it into the ventilation system, may be deemed both a bioclimatic as well as renewable energy production device.

Ventilation systems: summer and winter

Reducing the heat island effect at the site and creating a microclimate is achieved through the use of permeable surfaces located outside the building; sedum type intensive vegetation canopy covering 73.5% of the surface; local vegetation and deciduous trees at the site as well as other features that help create microclimates. 

With regard to creating this external microclimate, another decision taken in this respect was to design an outdoor open-plan car park using permeable paving. In addition to the personal benefits (an open space in a car park is far more pleasant than a closed one), taking such a decision allows for natural ventilation and lighting, drastically reducing the need for artificial lighting, fire-fighting facilities, anti-CO2 equipment, and so on.

Geothermal pipes under construction