The zero-energy BIQ House in Hamburg, Germany sports a “bio-adaptive façade” that uses microalgae to generate renewable energy and provide shade. Algae in the bio-reactor facades grow faster in the brighter sunlight and hence, create a natural shade when the sun is at its brightest. In addition, the bio-reactors power the building by capturing solar thermal heat and producing biomass that can be harvested – both energy sources can be used to power the building. In other words, photosynthesis is driving a dynamic response to the amount of solar shading required, while the microalgae growing on the glass louvers provide a clean source of renewable energy.
ARUP explained the unique advantages of the building’s architecture:
“To use bio-chemical processes for adaptive shading is a really innovative and sustainable solution so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario. As well as generating renewable energy and providing shade to keep the inside of the building cooler on sunny days, it also creates a visually interesting look that architects and building owners will like.”
The BIQ House will be completed in March 2013.