A new project dubbed Ammophila combines a wind farm with a residential building. Its moving façade system includes adaptable panels that enable the building to be used for a wide range of purposes, including private living or social events.
The project is based on the idea of creating a building that generates sustainable energy, but which is integrated with various options for living spaces. It differs from other wind power designs because it has the potential to serve as an architectural landmark as well, using its one structure to serve multiple purposes.
Although awareness about wind energy has been increasing in recent years, some remain doubtful of the functionality of wind power systems. As a result, and because some say they create excess noise and affect views, wind turbines are rarely designed within urban areas or located close to residential neighbourhoods.
Many citizens show little interest in wind energy because of the remote locations of wind farms and of their reputation of being unsuitable for habitation and recreation.
In order to create more accessible and efficient wind energy residential systems, Ammophila, designed by Dutch Delft University of Technology student Murtada Alkaabi, includes a panel wind harvesting façade system suitable for residential buildings located on urban coastlines.
The design integrates the wind harvesting system into the façade instead of just adding wind turbines to the building. Most suitable for modular buildings, the system includes a number of panels that react to existing winds and move creating changing patterns across the facades. The wind energy generated circulates through a connector between the inverter and the mains to the power grid.
Unused power can be returned to the grid. Combined with rain harvesting mechanisms, green roofs and photovoltaic panels, the system creates a sustainable loop between the user and the supplier. As a result, wind energy is never wasted and electricity bills can be reduced.
Alkaabi estimated the amount of energy the system would be able to produce and then compared it to the one produced by an existing 11-turbine wind farm located in Belgium, concluding the new design would have a significantly smaller footprint while generating the same amount of power.
The project demonstrates an aesthetically-pleasing solution for harvesting wind energy, one of the most readily available renewable energy sources, in urban environments.