Noted architect Larry Speck helped found the architecture program at the University of Texas and is best known for his designs for the Austin Convention Center and Austin International Airport. While Speck lives in Big Oil country, he advocates for sustainable practices in architecture and believes that modern architects should see solar energy as an essential part of building design today.
In the video interview below, Speck says, “There’s been an enormous change in my field, even in the last 5 years and certainly in the last 20 years in our attitude toward energy serving buildings. Now, we’re all talking about zero net energy. Now we’re talking about maybe even buildings that produce energy instead of consume energy. … The mechanism for that is things like solar energy, where you can use the surfaces of the building as a means of collecting energy and letting that serve the building.”
Speck goes on to say that today’s architects should design buildings with surfaces that can receive and collect energy, whether for heating, cooling, hot water, or for electricity. See the entire interview below:
One thing that Speck doesn’t mention in the video is how affordable solar thermal has become within the last 5 years. Not only are there more subsidies for solar thermal from state and federal governments, solar thermal has even become cost competitive with natural gas before incentives.
To facilitate architects thinking about how to integrate solar hot water, solar heating, and/or solar cooling into their designs, the solar engineers at Free Hot Water have created an architect’s checklist for incorporating solar thermal technologies.
If you have any questions about how to include solar heating and cooling systems into your next project, please contact us.