Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • France officially opens world's first solar panel road

    It’s time to forget about solar roofs. Because the world’s very first solar road is here, constructed in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. The 1 kilometer road was opened yesterday by The Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal and could potentially generate enough electricity to power the street lights. Normandy is not known for its surfeit of sunshine: Caen, the region’s political capital, enjoys just 44 days of strong sunshine a year compared with 170 in Marseilles

    The total cost taken to construct the solar panel road was roundabout $5.2 million price and took 30,000 square feet of solar panels. The panels have been covered in a silicon-based resin that allows them to withstand the weight of passing big rigs. Royal even has expressed that he wants to see solar panels installed across 1,000 kilometers of French highway. The road will be used by about 2,000 motorists, which include almost all types of traffic, heavy and light, day during a two-year test period to establish if or not it can generate enough energy to provide electric power to street lights in the village of 3,400 residents.

    There are several issues that pop up, however. For one, flat solar panels are less effective as compared to the angled panels that are commonly installed on roofs, and they’re also massively more expensive than traditional panels. Colas is the name of the company that has installed the road and hopes to reduce the cost of the panels going forward and it has around 100 solar panel road projects in progress around the world. Normandy’s Wattway required a staggering amount of $5.2 million to build, which means that each kilowatt peak it produces costs $17.74 compared to the $1.36 per kilowatt cost of a conventional solar roof. Experts recon this might prove quite inefficient, but that’s what the test is about.

    Solar Roadway is another company that is looking towards building roads with solar panels, and it installed a small number of panels at the Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway, Missouri during the early part of this year. Still, they’re facing the same heavy seemingly insurmountable cost problems as Colas and the French.

    Maybe those solar roofs from Tesla are the better way to go after all.

    We’re in a new solar experimental phase right now, as governments assess way to incorporate practical solar energy with existing infrastructure, and without causing a big environmental impact. And that’s great, because it means that governments, not only the French but others as well, are finally taking this seriously.

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  • This building is covered in decorative panels made from concrete

    You need to do something different for people to sit up and take notice. This is the main idea behind this decorative façade on a building in Tourcoing, France. In the normal course, if you have a bank on the ground floor with eight apartments on the first and second floors, who would have given it much importance?

    However, you bring in an innovation such as decorating the exteriors as well as the interiors with decorative panels made from concrete. Immediately, people start becoming curious and take time to admire the beauty. The idea might be a simple one but it is innovative by all means.

    The property developer assigned this task to the renowned architect firm, D’Houndt and Bajart. The first part of the job is to decide on the design. The fact that one of the occupants of the construction was a bank made it easy for them. They got the inspiration for the design from the delicate drawings of the guilloche. As a matter of fact, guilloche is the intricate drawings and pattern on the currency notes that resembles braided ribbons. Using this inspiration, they created specific molds for each decorative panel.

    Once the molds are ready, all you have to do is to pour concrete over them and allow it to cure. On drying, you remove them and have your decorative panels ready for installation. The following job is a simple one of attaching these panels to the exteriors of the building in a manner similar to affixing tiles to the bathroom walls. The result is a beautiful structure that looks not only lovely but also creative.

    The beauty of the design is that you can use it to decorate the interiors as well as the main door of the lobby. This design can surely make heads turn resulting in the building becoming a sort of a landmark in the town.

  • 15 Details of Metal Structures and Facades for Residential Projects

    For centuries people have been using mud, stone, and concrete for building houses everywhere in the world. You need a sense of innovation as otherwise the constructions could become monotonous. Steel and metal structures offer such an innovative change. In recent times, man had started using steel structures for building facades for residential houses. Let us look at 15 such metal structures and facades.


    1. Caterpillar House


    The Caterpillar House designed by architect Sebastian Irarrazaval uses shipping containers to serve as houses. Instead of using the normal bricks and concrete, he has aesthetically used shipping containers to build houses in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Chile.


    1. Shokan House


    Designed by Jay Bargmann, the Shokan House in the firests of the Catskills Mountains in New York is a magnificent experience using steel and glass to build the house. The advantage of such a house is that it does little damage to the natural environment while offering a breathtaking view of the forests from all sides.


    1. House Pegasus


    The House Pegasus designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is a magnificent structure that lies partly underground. It uses the shipping containers as its main construction material. The design gives you a great experience of living underground. The stacking of shipping containers is done in such a way that the portions below the ground are not visible at all from outside, thus adding to the mystique.


    1. Single House in Haut


    The Single House in Haut is the perfect example of using modern methods of architecture to combine with the existing traditional stone house resulting in a magnificent structure of steel and glass. The beauty of the experiment is that you have a great blend of the modern and the traditional.


    You have seen the details of four such designs having metal structures instead of brick and concrete. There are other examples as follows.

    1. House on Todos Los Santos Lake
    2. Casa Gate
    3. RR House
    4. House V
    5. Tinman House
    6. LLM House
    7. VIMOB
    8. House in Salineiras
    9. H House
    10. House JP
    11. BLM House


    Each of these houses is magnificent in its own way. You can also call it as innovation at its best.


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