Task 41
Task 41
SHC Task 41

Solar Energy and Architecture

Project (Task) Objectives

The main goals of the Task are to help achieving high quality architecture for buildings integrating solar energy systems, as well as improving the qualifications of the architects, their communications and interactions with engineers, manufactures and clients. Increased user acceptance of solar designs and technologies will accelerate the market penetration. The overall benefit will be an increased use of solar energy in buildings, thus reducing the non-renewable energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

To achieve these goals, work is needed in three main topics:

  1. Architectural quality criteria; guidelines for architects by technology and application for new products development.
  2. Tool development for early stage evaluations and balancing of various solar technologies integration.
  3. Integration concepts and examples, and derived guidelines for architects.

The first objective is to define general architectural quality criteria and extract recommendations for solar components/systems, to support manufacturers in developing existing products as well as new products. Specific criteria for the architectural integration of different solar energy components/systems will be developed in cooperation between architects, manufacturers and other actors. New adapted products should result from this activity as well as appropriate ways to use them.

The second objective concerns methods and tools to be used by architects at an early design stage, which need to be developed or improved. An example of such a tool can be how to visualize the solar energy concepts to show e.g. clients. Other examples can be tools needed to quantify and clearly illustrate the solar energy contribution and help balance the use of different active and passive solar technologies on the building envelope.

The last objective is to provide good examples of architectural integration, in the form of both existing projects that can be analysed as well as proposals for new projects. Buildings, installations and products will be included. Case studies will be an important basis to gain experience regarding the level of successful building integration, achieved solar energy contribution and to identify barriers related to e.g. technical and economical aspects and attitudes. New demonstration buildings will be developed in connection with the Task work and followed at least for the first part of the design stage, to learn from and to test guidelines and tools.

Communication tools and guidelines with facts and arguments for architects to help convince their clients to include solar energy systems will be produced. Arguments and facts related to architectural value, energy performance and life cycle costs are essential. Here, the arguments and facts need to be tailored for different building types and owner/user structures. The results will also serve as a basis for teaching material that could be used in e.g. architecture schools.

To communicate the value of solar energy designs and technologies, the Task will carry out seminars, workshops and produce articles in e.g. architectural magazines.


The scope of the Task includes residential and non-residential buildings. Both new and existing buildings will be included, for the climatic zones represented by the participating countries. In this way the potential impact of the Task can be large. Already cost-effective systems can, with a successful architectural integration, accelerate the market penetration. But also technologies not yet fully cost-effective can benefit from the work to pave the way to successful integration and user/client acceptance, and make the coming market penetration smoother. The work will build upon past IEA Tasks and other research projects related to building integration of solar systems and development of sustainable buildings.

The work will be linked to national activities and will focus on individual buildings or groups of buildings with special focus on the building envelope. The work will be based on workshops with architects, manufacturers and other key actors. The workshops may be carried out nationally or regionally based on a common format developed within the Task. In addition, special workshops and seminars may be held in connection with a Task meeting; to let Task experts and representatives from local practitioners and manufacturers come together and discuss barriers and what can be done. Analysis of existing components, systems and buildings will help to develop innovative design solutions. Good examples will also be used to inspire and as help to convince the client.