Sources: LafargeHolcim Ltd., Zurich; CP staff
A two-year collaboration between LafargeHolcim and Germany’s Heliatek GmbH has netted a photovoltaic concrete façade product capable of generating double the amount of energy typical of roof-based solar panel arrays. Unveiled at Batimat 2017 in Paris, it combines LafargeHolcim’s Ductal ultra-high performance concrete, suited to architectural applications in ½-in. or greater thickness; and, Heliatek’s flexible, ultra-light HeliaFilm, weighing 1 kilogram/square meter (2.2 lbs./10.75 sq. ft.).
At 60 percent of the exterior, the cladding has the potential to generate 30 percent of a 10-story building’s annual energy requirements. “LafargeHolcim seeks to offer sustainable, high-performance construction solutions that improve energy efficiency for buildings,” affirms Group Head of Growth & Innovation Gérard Kuperfarb. “With Ductal/HeliaFilm, building owners and developers as well as architects and engineers will be able to mitigate energy costs while enjoying the benefits of a very light, low maintenance and long-lasting cladding solution.”
The LafargeHolcim Research & Development team focuses on addressing today’s major construction challenges, he adds, noting how the Ductal/HeliaFilm product emerges with widespread recognition that a) 30 to 40 percent of global energy consumption is tied to building heating and cooling; and, b) decentralized energy generation is among critical levers to reduce owners’ operating expenses and optimize national power grid use.
“HeliaFilm is the active element which transforms building cladding into a power station,” affirms Heliatek CEO Thibaud Le Séguillon. “This is the path to green, localized electricity.”