Creating Buildings that Will Power Themselves

My last article discussed commercialization of a roof-top wind turbine developed in the UK.  I’ve also read a report about an ambitious plan, also in the U.K., to turn the exterior ‘fabric’ of buildings into power plants so that  structures function as their own source of power:

“The project, known as SPECIFIC (Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Coatings) and led by Swansea University, will involve incorporating specially coated steel and glass into buildings, so that the “fabric of a building itself is able to generate, store and release electricity”.

It is estimated to deliver significant economic benefits, including up to 10,000 new jobs in the supply chain, anchoring advanced manufacturing in the UK and providing global export opportunities.”

Buildings Become Power Stations, EDIE News, October 25, 2012

The UK is running out of its North Sea oil, and has been shifting to the use of imported LNG. Perhaps a higher sense of urgency is a beneficial spur to innovation there. Compare that with Canada putting its money on a 19th century economic strategy of finite resource extraction. Never mind that the global trend is toward closed-loop manufacturing, improved energy efficiency, more renewable energy, and greater reuse and recycling.

The sad part of Canada’s strategy is the notion among our ruling politicians that everything is an ‘either-or’ proposition: environment or the economy; conservation or development; tarsands oil or renewables. Hence, the federal push to bypass environmental reviews, repudiate the Kyoto Accord, accelerate approval of resource projects, cancel funding for conservation measures, and politicize pipeline approvals. Ultimately, a ‘guaranteed’ supply of domestic oil for a century could potentially leave Canadians about a hundred years behind the innovation curve.

Published previously:

Kyoto to Doha to Innisfil – My Environmental Challenge

Related Reading:

Efforts to stop Alberta Tar Sands ‘delusional’ says Canadian MP, RTCC, January 17, 2013

How big is Canada’s oil subsidy to the U.S.?, Globe & Mail, January 7, 2013

New US Windpower Might Beat Natural Gas and Coal in 2012, Treehugger, January 2, 2013