A glass beverage bottle, although practical and eco-friendly, isn’t terribly glamorous, and frankly, neither are light bulbs, basic casserole dishes, laboratory test tubes or windows. With that being said, all of the aforementioned items have become as integral to our daily lives as sliced bread, demonstrating the seemingly infinite morphing powers of molten silica, limestone, magnesium carbonate and sodium carbonate. Together, those four basic ingredients can produce everything from paper weights and delicate pieces of jewelry, to aquariums, elaborate chandeliers, mosaic tiles and ethereal sculptures… but roofing tiles? Doesn’t seem very practical, does it? After all, the crowning glory of today’s architectural structures must endure an ongoing assault in temperature extremes as well as diverse weather conditions and most importantly, wind. As the three little pigs taught us, it’s pretty crucial to select the right material to ensure that your humble abode stays warm and toasty. Depending on the global region, conventional roofing materials range from slate and terracotta to wood, metal, thatch, asphalt shingles and even vegetation-covered versions, but lately, we’ve been hearing more about photovoltaic roofing cells that offer domestic dwellings protection from the elements as well as a greener form of household energy. Swedish company SolTech Energy has upped the ante on the green-roofing market by creating an innovative new roofing tile that is as eco-friendly as it is easy on the eyes. While competitor SRS Energy’s integrated photovoltaic Solé Power Tiles add a curvy, decorative touch to one’s roof, SolTech’s slightly more bodacious UV-resistant glass version bestows structures with an instant touch of sustainable, shimmering glamor. But wait — there’s more! The naturally snow-repellent glass tiles, which are comparable in weight to conventional clay versions and even more durable than concrete, rest on top of heat-absorbing black nylon canvas, working in conjunction with preexisting water- and air-based home heating systems to make the most of the naturally heated air pocket circulating within. Quite brilliantly, an accumulator enables hot air produced through this system to heat household water, generating a highly efficient sustainable energy solution at approximately 350 kWh heat per 10 square feet in optimal conditions. Currently available in Sweden and Spain, SolTech Energy’s gold medal-winning product will likely hit the American marketplace next year. Ideal in regions where clay and concrete roofing tiles are typically installed, if consumers are not already seduced by the green pedigree of SolTech’s glass tiles, it’s likely that the slick roofing material’s supermodel good looks will make ‘em weak at the knees.
Glimmering Eco-Innovation: An Energy-Generating Glass Roof
Who knew a glass roof was the answer to sustainability woes?