SMIT’s GROW: Solar and Wind Leaf Photovoltaic Shingles

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 4:35

Orignially published on Inhabitat, written by Emily Pilloton, reblogged by Cluster

Our friends at Ecolect, the go-to sustainable design and materials community, have launched a monthly spotlight on sustainable design called Limelight – and the first feature is tough act to follow. Teresita Cochraine’s sustainable design group, SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) has a compelling new project called GROW that’s an innovative and aesthetically arresting solar and wind power solution. Combining the best of green tech and ecology, GROW draws inspiration from ivy growing on the side of a building – resulting in a hybrid energy delivery device of leafy, fluttering solar shingles that provide power via both sun and wind.


After an accidental collaboration with her brother during her graduate program at Pratt, Teresa began working on GROW after cutting leaf-shaped solar panels for her brother’s project. What followed was GROW as SMIT’s first product offering, which now exists in 2 versions, GROW.1 (currently at the Museum of Modern Art), and GROW.2, a residential application built on top of a stainless steel mesh system, allowing ivy and other crawlers to grow with it.

Using a series of flexible solar cells as leaves, GROW takes the shape of ivy growing on a building- the leaves are solar cells while the wind that causes them to flutter is harvested as viable energy. Teresita hopes that the modular system would be readily available via the Moma store or Design Within Reach, rather than a commercially out-of-reach system like many traditional solar components. GROW also integrates an energy monitoring system for users to visualize their consumption. The leaves are made of 100% recyclable polyethylene, and are available in a variety of colors and opacities.

We love the simplicity of the idea, the natural inspiration, and the idea of bite-sized solar panels fluttering in the wind on the side of a house. Gorgeous and green equals a great idea!

Ecolect will give one sustainable project the Limelight every month. To be considered for upcoming months, email limelight [at] ecolect [dot] net with an overview of how your sustainable project is making an impact.




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