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At the opening day of the world’s largest trade fair on solar technologies, Hydro was honored as partner in a project for an aluminium curtain wall with integrated solar thermal collectors.

Heat from the sun, but cool!

That’s the first glance impression of the award-winning “CPC Office/System Wicona” façade collector. When you’re inside, it looks like aluminium shutters are down, while diffused light can still come in through the fine pores of parabolic mirrors helping to feed the vacuum tubes in front with thermal energy.

Several parts of Hydro's aluminium Building Systems operation, including its Germany unit with the Wicona brand and the dedicated Solar unit, cooperated on the façade system, which was one of more than 1,000 entries in 'Intersolar Awards 2010'.

The project has been carried out, and the prize now is being shared, with the Institute for Building Construction and Design of the University of Stuttgart (structural design), Ritter Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH & Co. KG (collector development), and Frener & Reifer Metallbau GmbH (façade construction), who had been assisted by Früh Metallbau, another Germany-based metal builder.

Sustainable buildings

The award’s expert jury lauded the project as "a positive example for linking-up expertise, demonstrated by the joint submission, which meets future requirements for sustainable modern office buildings with glass façades."

The jury emphasized that architectural aspects such as transparency of the modules, room lighting, heat protection and solar protection are combined with the high efficiency of the collector in this product. Solar heat is made available for heating and cooling purposes at temperatures of up to 100°C in a new approach to façade integration for vacuum tubes.

"I am absolutely pleased about this recognition for the brilliant work of our solar and façade experts and I take as a very good indicator that our inspiring guiding start 'on our way to Zero Energy Building' guide all of us and in particular R&D in the good direction. I congratulate them," said Lars Hauk Ringvold, senior vice president of Building Systems in Hydro.

Without public funding

“What is thrilling me most is the fact that we are able to reach so high in an area where we are newcomers compared to many others. I’m happy to see that even in the heavily public-supported solar industry, together with our partners we are able to present innovative solar offerings without any government money, at least for our own for development, and that the solution when in use will have a very fast payback – also without public support."

Arnd Brinkmann, managing director of Hydro Building Systems Germany, who was on hand to receive the award, highlighted "the close collaboration among all the project partners. This solar industry, despite its breathtaking global growth, to some extent still derives from a technology community, and I am happy we are part of it."

Werner Jager, head of Technology in Hydro Building Systems, hopes the award will serve "as a catalyst. This is a strong, award-winning project, and we now should turn the concept into profitable business. I can hardly wait to see the 'CPC Office/System Wicona' façade applied in a large-scale, impressive building, thanks to our energy source number one, the sun."

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