Semester Wrap-Up Fall 2014

Semester Wrap-Up Fall 2014

By Stephen December

While working on the Vertical Solar Wall all this semester; there were many changes that occurred with the design. The design has evolved from a large robust system to a design that co-exists well with the architecture of the house( both interior and exterior).

I. Phase 1

The system we had before had covered the whole southern facade. It had also created many architectural and engineering problems. Some of the problems were shading issues, structural integrity of the design, and overall lack of sunlight entering into the home. However these issues were resolved.  The images below depict the first design that was proposed.

DURA Solar wall DURA Solar wall2Figure 1-1: The first design for the solar wall 8/6/14

Design Synopsis:                                                                                                                                     1. Daily rotation for solar gain

2. Seasonal rotation to keep panels always perpendicular to the sun.

3. Holds 2 solar panels on each unit

4. Uses a horizontal pulley systems for daily rotation.

5. Uses SunPower X-series 245 watt solar panels.

II. Phase 2

After this design, during the beginning of the fall semester a few classes in the architecture department were opened up to be dedicated to work for the Solar Decathlon competition; such as this class (ARCH 4400: Special Topics in Architecture). This spurred a larger work group which were able to work on multiple parts of the project that needed major input and design ideas.

While working in conjunction with the Advanced Detailing and Design V classes, Many designs for the solar wall were created that addressed many of the lingering issues of the solar wall. Also suggestions from professors and outside consultants were taken into account. Such as the issue of shading, structural integrity and adaptability. Solar_Wall_3 9.16.14

Figure 2-1: Design concept 1 by Stephen D.

Design Synopsis:                                                                                                                                       1. Daily rotation for solar gain

2. Seasonal rotation to keep panels always perpendicular to the sun.

3. Holds 1 solar panel on each unit

4. Uses a rocking chair motorized rotation design.

5. Uses SunPower X-series 245 watt solar panels.

6. Has PV thermal system built into the frame.

Solar_Wall_2 9.16.14      Solar_Wall_5 9.16.14

Figure 2-2: Design Concept 2 by Joe W., Rendered Images by Osmany C. 

Design Synopsis:

1. Seasonal Rotation only.

2. Has an emergency shutters that fold over the panel during extreme weather.

3. Works with a pulley system that is attached to the frame.

4. Uses SunPower X-series 245 watt solar panels.

5. Attached to the deck area of the house.

Solar Wall 9.16.14


Figure 2-3:Sun Screen/Emergency Shutter Explanation

Solar_Wall_4 9.16.14

Figure 2-4: Sun Study of Design Concept 2

III. Phase 3

After going through debates about designs; we collectively as a group decided to continue with design concept 2. With this Joe W. and I help further developed the design to incorporate many new elements.

Which can be further viewed in the Operable Solar Panel Wall pdf file.

Design Synopsis:

1. Has 2 different Solar Panel layouts (single and double)

2. Uses SunPower X-Series 345 Watt Solar panels

3. Seasonal Rotation via vertical cable system.

4. Emergency shutters mounted under the Solar Panels.

5. SunDrum Thermal collectors on the back of each panel.

IV. Phase 4

Phase 3 of designing brought logistical issues, such as if the home were to be stacked upon each other to create a larger complex or tower, the panels will shade each other. So to remedy this situation (and to not completely change the structure of the Phase 3), Joe and I changed the orientation of the solar panels.

This can viewed in the Solar Wall Updates pdf file and DURA_JW pdf file

Design Synopsis:

1. Utilizes a single panel layout.

2. Uses SunPower X-series 345 Watt  Solar Panels

3. Emergency Shutters located in the same position

4. SunDrum Collectors still present

5. Integration with Thermo-electric tiles.

V. Phase 5

After design considerations and refinement considerations; Joe and I further worked on developing the design. Unfortunately we ran into an issue with our plenum roof and the air flow which was supposed to circulate through the plenum roof. Since our panels were oriented too high, the plenum roof was blocked off from the air flow. We took this as an opportunity to refine our current design and propose another solution entirely.

DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 47 DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 48                                      DURA_JW - Section - Section 20 DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 49


Figure 5-1: Lowered Solar Wall with Plenum Air Flow Diagram by. Joe W & Stephen D.

DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 47 Copy 1DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 48 Copy 1                                     DURA_JW - Section - Section 20 Copy 1       DURA_JW - 3D View - 3D View 49 Copy 1

Figure 5-2:  Vertical Solar Wall with Plenum Air Flow Diagram by. Joe.W & Stephen D.

VI. Phase 6

At the end of Phase 5, we got rid of the second idea of having the vertical solar set up as previously shown in Figure 5-2. Also at the end of phase 5, Joe and I encountered another issue. This issue is that the view from the interior to the outside was blocked by the vertical solar wall. Also now the plenum roof has changed, which means that the panels can be raised up more to not block the view. We also attached the thermo-electric tiles to the emergency shutters. there is also a saw tooth stationary system design for the wall.

This can be further viewed in the J_WIEBELHAUS_PV pdf file





This design has evolved, over the course of this whole semester. The logistics and aesthetics of the design have created a new feel of how the house works together through combination of architecture and engineering. This design has also has changed from a abstract rough idea to a well thought out concrete solution. It also addresses our DURA concept. (Diverse, Urban, Resilience and Adaptable). Thank you for all that worked on the project so far and keep up the great work towards an amazing final product.



This entry was posted in Stephen, Student Decathletes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.