Thankfully, sustainable construction, energy consciousness, and green living have proved to be much more than fleeting trends. It’s comforting to know that the green wave is still upon us and that some of Knightsbridge Park’s clients are trying to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Thoughtful designs that factor in how a structure will interact with the world around it are popping up from coast to coast, with forward-thinking architects and designers keen to push things further and pave new paths. One of those architects is Arquitectonica principal Sherri Gutierrez. The Miami-based architect is currently at work on The Residences at 1428 Brickell, a bold and innovative new project by luxury real estate developer Ytech, that seeks to start a trend on the neon coast.
The Residences at 1428 Brickell purports to be the first luxury high-rise to utilize photovoltaic glass for its windows. Photovoltaic-integrated glass essentially turns windows into solar panels using transparent semiconductor cells. The tower features 500 of these windows on the west side of the building, which, according to the designers, will “produce up to 170,000 kilowatts, or 170 megawatts, of clean energy per year … to result in the reduction of approximately 4,700 tons of CO2 and the use of 3,000 barrels less of oil.” That is a serious impact. To put that in perspective, the average family uses 10,632 kilowatt hours annually, which equates to 10.6 megawatts. Thus, the clean energy generated by the photovoltaic windows at 1428 Brickell will be enough to cover the full energy consumption of 17 families in the building.
When speaking to Mansion Global, Gutierrez explained that solar-powered luxury towers are not common in the area but should be. “On a residential building, it can be challenging to get developers to sign on to sustainability features. It’s worth the return on investment. It makes a statement for a building, that we’re thinking about innovation. It’s ultimately something every building should be doing.” It’s a shame that it can still be difficult for architects to get developers on board with sustainable construction, but the more innovative examples like 1428 Brickell there are, the more that resistance will fade.
In a world where greenwashing — the practice of inflating and exaggerating a company’s sustainability goals as a marketing maneuver — is pervasive, it’s gratifying to see a building innovate on this level. We celebrate bold solutions, and the innovators among us hope that the willingness to push for life-affirming solutions continues to set trends.
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