Hairy skyscraper concept harnesses wind energy

Söder Torn (meaning "Tower of Söder" in Swedish, for what it's worth) is a residential highrise in Stockholm that was completed in 1997. Now a local firm called Belatchew Arkitekter has designed an addition to the tower that would effectively turn it into a net-zero building, producing as much energy as it consumes.

This isn't an awful idea, but the plan itself is a tad wacky: the proposal involves adding bristle-like straws to the facade of the building that would move and generate energy from the wind. These are basically cilia that extend from the building like massive, undulating eyelashes. Quirky for sure, but would it really work? Apparently so:

The straws of the facade consist of a composite material with piezoelectric properties that can turn motion into electrical energy. Piezoelectricity is created when certain crystals’ deformation is transformed into electricity. The technique has advantages when compared to traditional wind turbines since it is quite [sic] and does not disturb wildlife. It functions at low wind velocity since only a light breeze is sufficient for the straws to start swaying and generate energy. The existing premise on top of the building is replaced with a public floor with room for a restaurant. The new extension creates, a part from the energy producing shell, room for the citizens with the possibility to reach a lookout platform at the very top of the tower with an unmatched view of Stockholm.

So, if the folks at Söder Torn don't mind sacrificing the original buiding design to some hairy, straw things, they'll end up with a residential building that doubles as a power plant.

Web Wire and io9, via PopSci

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