Authors: Jizhong Shao, Huixian Chen and Ting Zhu

Journal: Sustainability

Academic Editor: Francesco Asdrubali

Abstract

Based on the Great Western Development Strategy and the requirement for sustainable development in the west of China, rural affordable housing, energy conservation, and environmental protection are becoming development standards in the construction field. This paper mainly explores an innovative, sustainable, residential construction method for rural areas in western China, particularly the integration of solar energy technology with modern prefabricated building techniques, formally named solar energy block-based construction. The conscious approach of using volumetric blocks provides superior adaptability and expansibility in integration with a steel structure, thereby reducing the construction time and cost. Allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout, this approach can be customized to the end-user’s precise location and climate, making rural residential buildings much more flexible and modern. To take advantage of adequate solar energy resource in western China, the blocks are associated with active and passive solar energy technologies, thereby reducing pollution, mitigating global warming, and enhancing sustainability. Therefore, we concluded that solar energy block-based construction could bring significant benefits to the environment, economy, and society. It could also promote sustainable development in the rural regions of western China.

Figure: Power transfer of the photovoltaic block (Credit: Jizhong Shao, Huixian Chen and Ting Zhu)

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