Entirely new possibilities from lighting and energy supply to the monitoring of building assets: This is the motto under which printed electronics are currently attracting a great deal of attention in the buildings and architecture sector.
A first domain of printed electronics here is the lighting sector. As in automotive engineering, ultra-flat and flexible OLED lights are currently also opening up more and more possibilities and applications in architecture. 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 by radio—for example, to the building automation system, which can use them to precisely adjust heating or ventilation.
Printed electronics opens 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 can be another 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. Here, 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.