Disguising solar panels as ancient Roman tiles in Pompeii



Photo voltaic panels disguised as historic Roman tiles or terracotta bricks to match town skyline. The revolutionary options adopted by the archaeological park of Pompeii and the Portuguese metropolis of Evora pave the way in which for an inspiring mannequin: turning architectural constraints into property, boosting heritage and sustainability.

Every year over 3.5 million vacationers from everywhere in the world go to Pompeii to admire the ruins left by the eruption of the Vesuvius that, in 79 AD, engulfed it along with the close by metropolis of Herculaneum. A few of them might need ran into the sheep which have been lately launched to mow the grass within the archaeological park. However definitely none of them may have seen the photo voltaic panels on the magnificent Home of Cerere.

“They look exactly like the terracotta tiles used by the Romans, but they produce the electricity that we need to light the frescoes,” says Gabriel Zuchtriegel, Director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. This answer is a part of a extra complete technique to show prices into financial savings alternatives and to embrace sustainable improvement.

“Pompeii is an ancient city which in some spots is fully preserved. Since we needed an extensive lightning system, we could either keep consuming energy, leaving poles and cables around and disfiguring the landscape, or choose to respect it and save millions of euros.”

Technically referred to as “traditional PV tiles“, the invisible photo voltaic panels utilized in Pompeii come from Camisano Vicentino, slightly Italian city with barely greater than 10 000 inhabitants, midway between Padua and Vicenza. They had been created and patented by the household enterprise Dyaqua.

“It is me, my father, my mother, and my brother,” says Elisabetta Quagliato. “Since photovoltaic production is increasing, we are expanding and now have two employees.” The thought got here from her father Giovanni Battista, who made a enterprise out of his passion of plastics and electrical energy. “He wanted to solve the problem of spotlights in public areas, which spoil the view once they are switched off.”

The standard PV tiles are made out of a polymer compound, which permits the solar’s rays to filter by. The photovoltaic cells are then built-in into it by hand and coated with a layer of the polymer compound. “We can also give it the look of stone, wood, concrete, and brick. As a result, such a solution can be installed not only on roofs but also on walls and floors,” says Quagliato.

Dyaqua’s purchasers are primarily native councils, proudly owning property which are topic to creative or architectural constraints. Authorized by the Italian Ministry of Tradition, the normal PV tiles have been additionally put in in Vicoforte, not removed from Cuneo, and can quickly be utilized in Rome’s famend museum of latest artwork, Maxxi. Within the coming months, they can even cowl the roofs of some public buildings in Break up, Croatia, and Evora, Portugal. Along with Alkmaar, within the Netherlands, the Portuguese metropolis is likely one of the demo websites which are testing revolutionary options geared toward combining sustainability with the valorization of architectural and cultural heritage, inside the European mission Pocityf. The Italian firm Tegola Canadese is amongst its technical companions.

“Evora is a beautiful city, on the top of a hill, facing south,” says its Research and Improvement Supervisor, Graziano Peterle, “Since it’s not flat, wherever you are, you can basically see every single roof of the city. Most of them are red or terracotta but since the photovoltaic panels are usually dark blue or black do not go unnoticed. This is why the municipality insisted on implementing an invisible solution.”

The one option to disguise the solar panels would have been to color them, however this may have lowered their power efficiency. That is why Dyaqua was referred to as on by Tegola Canadese, which is managing different options in Evora. “While the traditional PV tiles will cover the roof of the City Hall, we are in charge of a sports hall, a scientific center, and two parking lots,” says Peterle.

The know-how that shall be used on these websites is known as Tegosolar. “In contrast to conventional photovoltaic panels, that are exterior components, our answer consists of a correct roofing materials,” he explains. A number of years in the past, the Italian authorities established subsidies for the set up of photovoltaic programs.

Nonetheless, the incentives had been larger for options that had been built-in into the roofs. Therefore the thought of growing a walkable, fully flat answer. “Tegosolar has an aesthetic benefit because it doesn’t protrude from the roof and it is invisible from the road. It is also safer because it resists strong winds and is less sensitive to the direction of the sun,” says Peterle.

Options like Tegosolar and conventional PV tiles are essential for matching sustainability with conservation, safety, and enhancement of heritage. “One key aspect is to look at the cultural sites, ancient buildings, and historic cities not as obstacles, but as assets for reducing our carbon emissions,” says Francesca Giliberto, an architect specialised in conservation and administration and postdoctoral researcher on the University of Leeds.

“The very challenge not to damage historic buildings for contemporary purposes is to use the most innovative solutions, respecting their value and cultural heritage.”

The function of tradition and heritage in sustainable improvement was formally acknowledged by the 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015 by the United Nations. Nonetheless, of its 169 objectives, only one acknowledges the function of tradition in improvement processes.

“It is modest progress, and there is still a long way to go,” says Giliberto. “But in the past 5 years the potential of culture and heritage has been widely highlighted by UNESCO, and other international organizations. Now it’s up to policymakers and urban planners to start thinking differently: they must understand that as heritage professionals, they can make a huge contribution to sustainable development.”

The effectiveness of such an method is confirmed by the profitable expertise of Pompeii. “The invisible photovoltaic not only helps us cut the energy bills but it also makes our archaeological park more enjoyable. This is therefore just the beginning. From now on, we will be taking this solution into account for all future renovation and restoration projects,” says Zuchtriegel.

Conventional PV tiles had been additionally put in within the Thermopolis and lately within the Home of the Vettii. “We are an archaeological site but we also want to be a real-life lab for sustainability and valorization of intangible heritage. Our initiative is not merely symbolic. Through the million tourists who visit us every year, we want to send a message to the World: cultural heritage can be managed differently and in a more sustainable way,” says Zuchtriegel.

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Disguising photo voltaic panels as historic Roman tiles in Pompeii (2022, December 29)
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