PUSHING THE BARRIERS OF SOLAR BUILDING AND GREEN DESIGN IN BROOKLYN
Two years ago solar installers walked away from the job of developing a one-of-a-kind solar structure believing it to be infeasible to install solar panels on a triangular-shaped building. Now that building, located in the heart of Brooklyn, is set to open this fall and to serve as a pillar of groundbreaking green urban design.
The five-story Brooklyn building, also known as the Delta project, is set to be one of New York City’s greenest structures. The complex will be a symbol for net-zero energy construction whereby the building itself will generate more solar power than it uses. The nearly 80 solar panels situated on two of the building’s three sides and hanging above windows like awnings will produce 12 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly 25 percent more than the building will use. As NYC’s first net-zero solar structure, the Delta will act as a showcase for cutting-edge green building practices and is expected to have great impact on net-zero energy construction in compact urban areas nationwide.
Visit the Delta Project
The solar complex, costing upwards of $700,000, is located on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn’s trendy Carroll Gardens neighborhood. When it opens, the Delta will be home to a bed and breakfast, will host a Philly cheesesteak shop, and will offer educational tours and seminars on green technologies for architects, developers, designers, and students.
The design of the Delta not only includes the installation of solar panels but also sun-deflecting red bricks made from recycled glass and cement that cover the building’s front face. Behind the bricks are then layers of cinder blocks and insulation that help to conserve cool air in summer and heat in winter. Thick walls and tightly sealed windows and doors are also used in the construction and add to the building’s energy conservation capabilities as they keep out heat and cold. In addition, 40 energy-saving LED light bulbs provide light to the building, a roof-mounted cylindrical wind turbine supplies some of its power, and a solar hot water system offers a green alternative to its hot water supply.
While the Delta complex cost about 25 percent more to build than a normal structure of a similar size, the energy savings from the green technologies could make up the difference in three and a half years. Also, the bulk of the cost of materials, including the solar panels and mounting hardware, will be covered by a combination of city, state, and federal incentives. The Delta project not only defies previous notions of solar building and design, it is sure to redefine the limits of urban design for years to come.
(Photo: Voltaic Solaire)