World-first clear solar glass greenhouse reduces energy consumption by 40%

Two years after the world’s first clear solar glass greenhouse opened at Murdoch University, researchers have revealed the building has offset nearly 40 per cent of energy consumption. The results are due to fluorescent particles in the solar glass solutions designed to collect solar energy even when sun isn’t shining directly on the glass.

Organisation/s: Murdoch University

Media release

From: Murdoch University

– Two years after the world’s first clear solar glass greenhouse opened at Murdoch University, researchers have revealed the building has offset nearly 40 per cent of energy consumption. 

– The state-of-the-art facility, constructed by smart building materials company ClearVue Technologies, used three different versions of transparent solar photovoltaic glazing panels in order to optimise solar energy. 

– Results of a two-year-study showed that the building generated consistent energy and significantly offset facility energy costs and consumption.

This result was due to fluorescent particles in the clear glass solution designed to spread solar energy towards optimally positioned solar cells, allowing solar energy to be captured even when the sun was not directly shining on the glass. 

The research filled an important gap in solar energy knowledge, with no other solar glazing solution available long enough to facilitate a study of this scale and length.

Results will contribute to advancements which are expected to expand the utilisation of solar energy, which is in line with Murdoch University’s strategy to become a recognised centre of excellence for sustainability. 

Murdoch University’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Sustainability Dr Martin Brueckner said the greenhouse made a “vital contribution” to the university’s objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Dr Brueckner added that the greenhouse also had wider implications, demonstrating how innovative materials could help improve environmental performance of buildings and structures.

He said that while technology alone without behavioural change would be insufficient in terms of future sustainability, it was a “critical aspect” of the journey, and that there were exciting possibilities in the materials space moving forward.

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