Solar-powered houses

People could soon be living in glass houses and looking at the world through rose-tinted windows while reducing their carbon emissions by 50 per cent.


People soon be could living in glass houses and looking at the world through rose-tinted windows while reducing their carbon emissions by 50 per cent, thanks to work carried out by Australian researchers.


Prof John Bell, the assistant dean at the Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology Institute of Sustainable Resources (ISR), is worked with Canberra-based company Dyesol to develop transparent solar cells that act as windows and energy generators in houses or commercial buildings.


Prof Bell said the solar cell glass would make a significant difference to home and building owners’ energy costs and could, in fact, generate excess energy that could be stored or sold.


The solar cells, which contain titanium dioxide coated in a dye that increases light absorption, have a faint reddish hue but are completely transparent.


The glass captures solar energy which can be used to power the house but can also reduce overheating of the house, reducing the need for cooling, according to Prof Bell.


‘As long as a house is designed throughout for energy efficiency, with low-energy appliances it is conceivable it could be self-sustaining in its power requirements using the solar-cell glass,’ he said.


The glass will be available on the market in a few years time.