International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy, 2013, 2, 8-12
doi:10.4236/ijcce.2013.22B002 Published Online May 2013 (
Solar Energy and Residential Building Integration
Technology and Application
Ding Ma, Yi-bing Xue
Department of Architecture and Urban Planning.Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan, China
Received 2013
Building energy saving needs solar energy, but the promotion of solar energy has to be integrated with the constructions.
Through analyzing the energy-saving significance of solar energy, and the status and features of it, this paper has dis-
cussed the solar energy and building integration technology and application in the residential building, and explored a
new way and thinking for the close combination of the solar technology and residence.
Keywords: Solar Energy; Residential Building; Integration Technology and Application
1. Introduction
With the improvement of China’s economic construction
and people’s living standards, the energy crisis and en-
vironmental degradation are also growing, we are facing
the dual pressures of resources and environmental pro-
tection. Building energy consumption accounts for 25%
to 40% of the total energy consumption, together with
transportation and industry as the three major energy-
consuming households, building energy efficiency plays
an important role in the national energy conservation
strategies. As the large construction number of residen-
tial buildings energy-saving or not, will no doubt have
positive practical significance to realization of building
energy conservation and environmental protection.
2. Status and Features of Solar Energy and
Building Integration Technology
2.1. Status of Solar Energy and Building
Integration Technology
As the building renewable energy, solar energy is clean,
non-polluting and easy to get, more and more people of
all ages. Solar energy resource in China is extremely rich,
and the total annual solar radiation amount is more than
5.02 million KJ/m2, annual sunshine hours over 2200h
areas accounted for more than two-thirds of the land area,
so there is great potential in the use of solar energy[1].
Currently, the use of solar energy in our country has
made gratifying achievements, but the degree of realiza-
tion of solar energy and building integration technologies
is not high. Firstly, the development of solar thermal and
photovoltaic is uneven, from the Renewables 2012 global
Status Report can see that China ranks the world’s first
in solar water heaters in 2011, while the development of
solar photovoltaic is relatively slow[2]. Secondly, there
exist many problems in the use of solar water heater,
such as the water heaters rank highly on the roof, placed
very messy, not only destroy the architectural aesthetics,
but also affect the image of the city. The aim of imple-
menting solar energy and building integrated technolo-
gies is to change the disjointed, fragmented status quo of
each branch and link, incorporate the use of solar energy
into the over all design of the environment, make archi-
tecture, technologies and aesthetics be in harmony as an
organic whole, and make solar facilities to be part of the
2.2. Features of Solar Energy and Building
Integration Technology
The main features of solar energy and building integra-
tion technology are:
Involving a wide range
To achieve the application of solar energy and build-
ing integration technology need the coordination and
joint effort of several departments, such as national poli-
cies and regulations department, component construction
department, solar manufacturers, property developers,
designing institution and construction enterprises.
High technical content
Solar energy and building integration technology is a
comprehensive technical which combines multiple disci-
plines such as optical, thermal, electronic, fluid mechan-
ics and architecture, etc.
Complicated construction
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE
D. MA, Y.-B. XUE 9
Solar energy and building integration technology also
requires the integration of construction process and
technology, in addition to the conventional construction,
there also need to conduct the complex construction of
waterway and circuit and to complete the installation and
debugging tasks of solar equipments .
High initial investment
Due to the increased solar equipments, pipeline and
appliances, as well as the corresponding structural and
construction detail handing, the initial investment of so-
lar energy and building integration technology is high,
and the construction cost is also high[3]. But with the use
of solar energy, the economic benefits that generate from
its energy conservation, environmental protection, safe
and efficient will become increasingly apparent.
3. Application of Solar Energy and Building
Integration Technology in Residential
The application of solar energy and building integration
technology in residential buildings, mainly has three as-
pect: solar thermal technology, solar photovoltaic tech-
nology, solar optical technology, and mainly set on roofs,
balconies, exterior walls and somewhere with ample
3.1. Solar Thermal Technology
Solar thermal is mainly used to supply domestic hot wa-
ter, heating and refrigeration. In designing the integration
of solar hot water system and residential buildings, not
only need to consider the layout of solar hot water sys-
tem, but need to further improve the form of the system
itself. Traditional solar hot water system with vacuum
tube can not meet the needs of the ever-changing layout
and style of the residential buildings, beyond that, it have
other deficiencies, such as the installation is very diffi-
cult, easy to destroy the waterproof layer of the roof,
have security risks if the lightning protection and drought
exclusion device not in place, vacuum tube belongs to
quick-wear part and the maintenance ratio is high, water
pipes are exposed to the outdoor cause large heat loss,
etc. In short, the traditional solar hot water system with
vacuum tube can not meet the need of integration of so-
lar energy and building either in quality or in perform-
ance. Now, the flat plate solar collector system is gradu-
ally replacing the solar hot water system with vacuum
tube, for it has higher adaptability, and the installation of
it can better achieve the perfect combination with the
construction[4]. Solar collector system mainly operate on
the split double-cycle under pressure, the hot water tank
can located in the basement, attic, staircase, balcony and
other hidden parts, and not occupy the indoor space,
avoiding the load-bearing of roofs, balconies and exterior
walls; water tank can use single tank, double tank and
even a multi-tank, so as to achieve a larger holding tank
capacity, when the tank capacity is increased, the instal-
lation area is correspondingly increased to meet the hot
water needs; hot water is not just use for bath, but also
used for heating and supplying domestic water, the water
quality should keep clean to meet the drinking water
Integrating solar collector with the roofs, balcony rails
of the south façade, bay windows and walls, can make
the appearance of residential buildings be overall unified,
and have rich hierarchies[5] (Figure 1). When installed
(a) combined with the roof
(b) combined with the balcony
(c) combined with the exterior wall
Figure 1. Ways of the solar collector combined with the
residential building.
opyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE
D. MA, Y.-B. XUE
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE
the sloping roof, the solar collector can be embedded in
the roof like a sunroof or flat out on the roof, integrating
with the construction to increase the building beauty.
When installed on the flat roof, the flat-plate solar col-
lector can act as roof covering or insulation layer, not
only conforms to the residential modeling requirements,
but also avoids the repeated investment and reduce the
cost. In addition, the flat-plate solar collector can be
combined with balconies, bay windows, outside walls of
residential buildings, to maximize the use of solar energy
and provide new ways and means to the residential fa-
çade design, and achieve the aim of multi-purpose as
well (Figure 2).
new concept for the application of solar power, in short,
installing the solar photovoltaic phalanx on the surface of
the maintenance structure of the building to provide
electricity[6]. Photovoltaic arrays do not take up addi-
tional floor space when integrate with the construction,
and is the best installation way of photovoltaic genera-
tion system, thus attracting much attention.
BIPV can be divided into two categories according to
the forms that photovoltaic array integrated with the
buildings[7]. One is the combination of photovoltaic
array with building, installing the PV array on the build-
ing, and the building play a supporting role as a photo-
voltaic carrier (Figure 3). The other is the integration of
photovoltaic array with building, PV modules appear as
the building material, and the photovoltaic array become
the integral part of the construction, such as photoelectric
tile roof, photoelectric curtain wall and photoelectric
lighting roof, etc (Figure 4).
3.2. Solar Photovoltaic Technology
Solar photovoltaic technology applying in residential
buildings is mainly used for photovoltaic conversion and
lighting. BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) is a
Figure 2. Construction node design of the solar collector combined with the residential building.
D. MA, Y.-B. XUE 11
(a) combined with the roof
(b) combined with the façade
Figure 3. Ways of the solar PV arrays combined with the residential building.
(a) photoelectric tile roof
(b) photoelectric lighting roof
Figure 4. Ways of the solar PV arrays integrated with the residential building.
3.3. Solar Optical Technology
The main use of the solar optical technology in residen-
tial buildings is for lighting, natural light can enter into
the function rooms through the light guide tube, thus
improve the indoor daylighting situation, such as under-
ground garage, equipment room and storage room. Due
to the utilization of the solar optical system is also sub-
jected to the impact of the climate, it is suitable for the
regions that have abundant natural light and less cloudy
sky[8]. The light guide tube is mainly composed of three
parts: a light collector for collecting the daylight; tubing
portion for transmitting light; the light exit portion for
controlling the distribution of the light in the room. Us-
ing the light guide tube on the roof must ensure that there
have no obstructions, and well water treatment to avoid
leaking during the installation (Figure 5). Moreover, as
the instability of the natural light, the light guild tubes
must in combination with the adjustable artificial light,
so as to be an effective supplement when the daylight is
4. Conclusions
Solar energy and residential building integration tech-
nology has broad application prospects, despite the many
(a) cross-section drawing
(b) axonometric drawing
Figure 5. Solar optical system on the roof.
opyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE
12 D. MA, Y.-B. XUE
problems, such as the integration degree of solar water
heating system and building is not high, solar photo-
voltaic industry is lack of technological breakthroughs,
and the production cost is high, etc. But with the intro-
duction of the “Renewable Energy Law” and the detru-
sion of a series of policies and measures that encouraging
the use of renewable energy, is bound to promote peo-
ple’s enthusiasm toward the use of renewable energy,
increase the technology innovation and development
efforts, make the building integrated solar technologies
become more mature, and make the solar energy and
building integration technology more closely combined
with residential and broader development prospects.
5. Acknowledgements
This research was partially co-funded by the National
Natural Science Foundation (51078223), We would like
to thank the Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy Utili-
zation Technologies in Buildings of the National Educa-
tion Ministry and the Key Laboratory of energy-saving
technology of Shandong Province for providing us with
historical data of solar energy, integration technology
and application etc. We also thank Professor Wang
Chong-jie, a specialist on the solar energy and building
integration technology, for his valuable advice.
[1] C. J. Wang and Y. B. Xue, “Solar Building Design,” Bei-
jing: China Architecture & Building Press, 1st Edition,
2007, pp. 87-90.
[2] S. N. Wang, “The Development of Solar Building Tech-
nology in Domestic and Foreign,” Journal of New Build-
ing Materials, No. 10, 2008, pp. 44-46.
[3] T. S. Xin and C. M. Yang, “Application of Solar Energy
Technology to Congregated House,” Journal of Archi-
tecture, No. 8, 2006, pp. 22-25.
[4] Y. H. Wang, “Design of solar Residential Building Inte-
gration,” Journal of Building Energy Efficiency, Vol. 38,
No. 1, 2010, pp.53-55.
[5] C. H. Xu and M. L. Qin, “The Application of Solar En-
ergy and Building Integrated Multi-technology,” Journal
of Construction Science and Technology, No. 5, 2012,
[6] L. R. Zhang, “The Application of Motor Control Unit in
the Cement,” Journal of Equipment Manufacturing
Technology, No. 8, 2011, pp. 208-209.
[7] W. Jin, “Application of Building Integrated Photovoltaic
(BIPV) in Green Buildings,” Journal of Architecture
Technology, Vol. 42, No. 10, 2011, pp. 907-908.
[8] A. Y. Wang and G. Shi, “New Process of Daylighting
Technology,” Journal of Architecture, No. 3, 2003, pp.
opyright © 2013 SciRes. IJCCE