Smart solar façade wins the Watt d’Or Energy Prize

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(Picture: ETH Zurich / Arno Schlüter)(Picture: ETH Zurich / Arno Schlüter)

Solar façade panels developed by the group working under ETH Professor Arno Schlüter follow the sun’s position in the sky and in this way harvest more energy. The technology has now been awarded the Watt D’Or Energy Prize.

Just like sunflowers, the lightweight panels of the adaptive solar façade follow the sun’s path and in this way maximise the amount of energy harvested. In the same way as smart blinds, they can also regulate a building’s exposure to sunlight. Depending on the outside temperature and a room’s use, they provide shade or let the sun’s rays through, thus saving energy that would otherwise be needed for heating or cooling.

Prototypes of the façade have already been used in external page Empa’s NEST innovation building in Dübendorf. The Startup firm Zurich Soft Robotics, founded at the start of 2022, is now working on bringing the façade to market under the name of Solskin.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has now awarded the technology the Watt d’Or Energy Prize in the category of Buildings and Spatial Development. With the conferral of the Watt d’Or, the SFOE is awarding the technology the quality seal for energy excellence. No prize money is involved. ETH Zurich already received a Watt d’Or back in 2020 for its dynamic underground storage system, the anergy grid.