100-Year-Old Warehouse to Test Green Tech
An illustration of a planned retrofit that will transform a 100-year-old Boston warehouse into a huge lab for green building technologies.
CREDIT: Fraunhofer USA
A former warehouse in Boston, originally built in 1913, is getting a makeover to turn it into a testing ground for green technologies such as solar power-producing windows and super-efficient insulation. You should be able to go see it soon: Set to open in March, the Building Technology Showcase will have a public exhibit about the inner workings of buildings, MIT Technology Review reported. (Check out Technology Review for a photo of an "X-ray vision" app that will work with the exhibit.)
Greener retrofits could make a great difference to energy use in the United States because U.S. buildings consume so much energy now. Forty-one percent of the country's electricity use goes to buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. U.S. buildings use more energy than the transportation sector or the industrial sector.
The upcoming Building Technology Showcase will act as a real-life lab for developing solar energy technology and environmentally friendly building improvements. Fraunhofer, the European applied sciences institute that will run the labs, plans to build in testing facilities for solar panels on the roof and a complete solar panel manufacturing line inside. A south-facing wall will test self-tinting windows and windows that harvest energy from the sun.
The building itself should be energy-saving overall. Fraunhofer hopes it will use half as much electricity as comparable conventional buildings.
The complete retrofit costs $23 million, Technology Review reported. Some of the money will come from the governments of Massachusetts and Boston, which hope to create an "Innovation District" in the area.