Controlling, lighting, generating energy

As the world attempts to move towards a carbon-free economy, growing attention is being paid to the potential of both energy savings and energy generation in buildings. The roof and façade of houses offers potentially large surfaces for energy harvesting, e.g. via building-integrated solar modules. Local energy storage through advanced batteries can also be integrated into new houses at the design and construction stage. In addition, smart sensor systems can improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

A first domain of printed electronics here is the lighting sector. As in automotive engineering, ultra-flat and flexible OLED lighting enables new design forms for lighting solutions in buildings. Thanks to their enormous flexibility, they can, for instance, be used for surface-integrated lighting solutions, act as a striking design object or enable exciting new combinations of signage and lighting.

Building materials with embedded printed sensors and RFID components serve the megatrend towards smart buildings. They can be used, for example, to continuously measure material quality, temperature, degassing or moisture level right on and in the masonry and communicate these data.

Printed electronics enable, for example, ultra-flat motion, temperature and humidity sensors that can be discretely integrated—even right in the masonry. When combined with the building automation system, building parameters such as temperature, humidity and degassing can be monitored almost everywhere.

Printed electronics opened up completely new horizons with regard to the energy supply for buildings: In the form of flat printed solar cells (OPV) attached to external surfaces, this technology is one important answer to the question of future energy generation. Thanks to the enormous flexibility of printed solar cells, complete roofs and facades as well as individual surfaces and sections indoors and outdoors can be used to generate clean energy from sunlight.

Electrochromic windows are also becoming increasingly popular: By automatically adjusting their light transmission to solar radiation, they help air-conditioned buildings consume less energy for cooling in summer and support a pleasant indoor climate.

Another area of application is the smart home environment.