Sunday, May 19, 2013

Taiwan Tower’s Energy Answer Blowing In The Wind

by Randy Woods
While wind power is taking off in a major way across in large-scale wind farms around the world, many office tower designers are now looking to the skies above to help power their vertiginous creations. One of the more ambitious projects is a skyscraper design inTaiwan that will incorporate thousands of small wind turbines into its undulating façade.
Designed by Decode Urbanism Office (DUO), the Taiwanese Towerwill stand 1,150 feet high in Taiwan’s Taichung City and will be the new headquarters for the city’s Department of Urban Development. Other parts of the skyscraper will include offices, exhibition spaces, museums and retail areas. According to the architects, electricity generated from the tiny diamond-shaped turbines will be sufficient to handle the energy demand for the whole tower.
Composed of an undulating, twisting support structure made of concrete-filled steel, the new tower will be an eye-catching addition to the city’s skyline — and an ever-changing one. As the wind shifts directions, the wind turbines will shift accordingly, like a weather vane, providing subtle changes on the building’s dynamic envelope. Some windows will be more exposed while others become shaded, depending on the amount of daylight needed is certain areas, thus reducing energy demand.
In the evenings, small wind-powered LED lamps between each turbine will keep the tower illuminated without drawing any energy from the city’s grid. The color and intensity of these lights will also change, depending on the temperature and season, providing a basic weather beacon for the city’s residents.
This shifting façade patterns, DUO said, is based on the plum blossom, the national flower of Taiwan and China, which is known to change its appearance as the wind changes direction.