Research Module: THINK SOLAR

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Laura Vonhoegen

Academic Staff


+49 241 80-95034



Winter Semester 2023/24

Period: 1 semester


Heatwave summers and heavy rainfall events as consequences of climate change are also becoming more frequent in Europe and are a serious threat to historic city districts. Therefore, old towns should not rely on the surrounding buildings, but also make their contribution to climate protection. Even though only 3-4% of the total building stock in Germany is listed, these areas in cities are often concentrated in entire neighborhoods and also affect the retrofittability of neighboring buildings.

Solar energy is an important piece of the puzzle to mitigate climate change. So that the expansion of solar energy does not stop at entire city districts, just because the protection of historical monuments is not always positive towards the expansion of photovoltaic systems, as also in Aachen: "Monument authority hinders solar expansion" (Aachener Zeitung, 20.10.2022).

Of course, it is still important to protect the architectural heritage as much as possible and still find ways to reconcile the protection of historical monuments and climate protection. Instead of categorically rejecting the expansion, consensual solutions should be sought. Examples of how this can succeed already exist in numerous cities in Germany and Europe. So far, however, most solutions are characterized by the idea of hiding photovoltaic systems, which is of course one possibility, but there must be another way! Why do we accept big shop windows and neon signs on the first floor, but nobody wants to see solar panels on the roof?

Together, we will look for design solutions in the winter semester 2023/24 and get to the bottom of the question of acceptance.

For a direct practical relevance, this research field is carried out in cooperation with the monument preservation department of the city of Aachen.


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