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Europe's first positive-energy city block
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The new Hikari building – ‘hikari’ meaning ‘light’ in Japanese – was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The first positive-energy mixed-use city block in Europe, delivers exemplary environmental performance since it generates slightly more energy than it consumes. The energy used by its apartments, shops and offices is generated by SunEwat XL solar glazing. Installed as a façade covering an area of 520 m², this glass, which incorporates photovoltaic cells, controls the amount of solar energy entering the apartments and generates 15,000 kWh of electricity each year, which covers a proportion of the block’s energy requirements. Innovation is a key feature, too, in how the large sheets of point-fixed photovoltaic glazing have been installed and in the unique manner in which the photovoltaic cells have been fitted, thus fulfilling the architect’s brief of combining aesthetics with functionality.