Jin Young Song presents facade design at conference in Bern, Switzerland


A facade design prototype by Jin Young Song that harnesses electrical energy from the vibrations of a building envelope.

Published October 19, 2018


On October 2nd, Jin Young Song spoke at the 2018 Conference on Advanced Buildings Skins in Bern, Switzerland. He presented a facade design prototype to harness electrical energy from vibrating motion form the building envelope, and also shared insight on potential use of elastic instability in the building industry.

There have been two major challenges to enhance the efficiency and the power density of energy-harvesting devices with piezoelectric materials. A conventional linear vibrational energy-harvesting device generates maximum power at its resonance frequency, but there is a frequency mismatch between ambient vibrational frequencies and resonance frequencies of an energy-harvesting device. How to broaden the bandwidth of vibrational energy-harvesting devices has been a critical issue for their commercialization. Also, the wide range of ambient pressure inevitably accelerates the fatigue damage in conventional cantilever beam design.

Pattern Change.

"Pattern Change," a photo illustration of Jin Young Song's electricity-harnessing facade system.

Jin Young Song.

Jin Young Song is assistant professor of architecture at UB

In this study, Song integrated buckling-induced pattern transformation with energy harvesting mechanism using piezo layers to enhance the power density of piezoelectric energy-harvesting devices and apply the devices to design a wind-energy-harvesting building envelope. Due to its nonlinear dynamic characteristics, the proposed piezoelectric configuration harnessing instability will provide larger electrical power than conventional configurations over a wide range of frequencies. Furthermore, the pattern-transformation employed in the proposed configuration will amplify electrical power to be generated from the piezoelectric materials. The spandrel units in the typical curtain wall applications for the building envelope can be utilized as an energy harvesting device, which can be plugged into phase changing glasses, dynamic shading devices, and environmental sensors.

The Conference on Advanced Building Skins aims to contribute to a multidisciplinary, integrated planning approach to reducing energy consumption of buildings. The annual international conference draws architects, engineers, scientists, and manufacturers from around the world.

A rendering of the facade system implemented at the building scale.

A rendering of the facade system implemented at the building scale.