Active and Energy Autonomous Window

Renewable energy integration through design for manufacturing and assembly




Reducing GHG emissions related to energy use in buildings is a prominent obligation given their impact in terms of climate change. In this light, energy efficiency upgrade of the existing building stock is to be pursued through several means, of which envelope renovation is among the most impactful. However, innovative solutions should be sought to couple energy consumption targets with climate adaptability and minimized impact on occupants during a renovation action.

This paper presents a multifunctional and energy autonomous component expected to bring disruptive changes in the European constructive tradition, as several companies and research centers cooperated to the development of a solar-fed, industrialized window block system that can ease installation operations on site, while increasing envelope energy efficiency, still without adding any disturbance to building occupants nor raising their energy bills. The product has been developed within the frame of an EU-funded collaborative research project, in a consortium including applied research centers, window framing, photovoltaic glazing, automated shading manufacturers.

The window system climate-adaptive and modular based, flexible in functionalities and easily installed on site with minimized disturbance on occupants. The paper presents the engineering phase of the product, from concept definition to detailed design, as well as the catalogue of options available for installation up to date. Product presentation is complemented by both digital and material prototyping phases. This is to highlight the importance of technical design validation when complex and multifunctional components are brought to the market. The solar window block systems are planned for large scale production and installation in two different construction sites in Europe within 2020. Beyond the research project life, the design team has been working to build the business case for the adoption of such products analyzing the total cost of ownership compared to traditional window substitutions.


Throughout Europe, around 50% of the windows installed in existing buildings still integrate a single glazing unit (TNO Built Environment and Geosciences 2011). Around the same amount, or the same

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Off-site fabrication of envelope elements was born during the post World-War II time, when the need to provide affordable housing to large number of people was urgent and the main

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The solar autonomous window block is the result of a structured technological integration process, which has been developed in a continuous improvement framework until the detailed design phase that eventually

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Solar Window Block System Final Configurations

Technical system description

Final configurations of the solar window block system are summarized in Tab. 1 and differ by PV module positioning within the overall system: (i) in sill, (ii) in

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Conclusion and Future Work

The multifunctional and energy autonomous window block system presented in this paper provides a close-to-marketability solution for building energy renovation. The products suits the need of residential units also thanks

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This work has received funding within the H2020 project Energy Matching under grant agreement Nº 768766. Authors kindly acknowledge the technology providers involved in the definition phase for the proposed solutions shown in this work, Eurofinestra for providing schematic design and technical know-how on installation procedures, Pellini for providing details on the shading system and control strategy sharing between electronic components, Onyx Solar for providing power production details for the different PV configurations illustrated in the work and Tulipps for providing details on the PV mounting substructure. We also acknowledge Thesan and Gruppo Savio for providing technical installation details related to the decentralized ventilation units. Authors also acknowledge Annamaria Belleri, Giuseppe De Michele, David Moser, Marco Lovati, Jennifer Adami from EURAC research for supporting the simulation work on RES electrical production.

Rights and Permissions

A. Andaloro, S. Avesani, A. Belleri, G. De Michele, L. Pellini, G. Toniato. 2018. Energy matching D3.1 Solar window block cataloge. Project consortium internal publication, EURAC research.

Andaloro, Annalisa, Stefano Avesani, Annamaria Belleri, und Maider Machado. 2018. „Adaptive window block for residential use: optimization of energy efficiency and user´s comfort (accepted for publication).“ COST TU1403 “Adaptive Facades Network”.Luzern.

EN. 2007. „EN15251:2007 Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustics.“

Klein, S. A. et al. 2017. TRNSYS18: A Transient System Simulation Program. Madison, USA: Solar Energy Laboratory University of Wisconsin.

L. Minguez, S. Avesani, A. Belleri, G. De Michele, M. Lovati, L. Papaiz, G. Toniato. 2019. Energy Matching D3.9 Report on solar window block simulations. Project consortium internal deliverable, EURAC research.

M. Lovati, J. Adami, G. De Michele, L. Maturi, D. Moser. 2016. „A MULTI CRITERIA OPTIMIZATION TOOL FOR BIPV OVERHANGS.“ 32st European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition. Munich, Germany.

TNO Built Environment and Geosciences . 2011. „Glazing type distribution in the EU building stock TNO report TNO-60-DTM-2011-00338.“