As we slowly, but hopefully find ourselves leading more sustainable lifestyles, urban infrastructure seems to be catching up soon. Electric car charging stations appearing on street corners and smart benches using solar energy to generate power for WiFi hotspots have become an everyday occurrence. In creating a sustainable bike path, architect Peter Kuczia reinterpreted a distinctive bike path through a sustainable lens and the concept of the Solar Veloroute, a multi-functional photovoltaic path, and a structure for city walkers and motorcyclists.
Many people living in cities are turning to cycling for their preferred mode of transportation, prompting city designers and officials to re-arrange bicycle lanes and public transport. Road bikes, also known as Veloroutes, continue to be a major necessity for the city, even becoming a mainstay for commuters on foot or by bicycle. With the increasing demand for Veloroute, Kuczia created the Solar Veloroute which consists of a photovoltaic tunnel structure that acts as a solar canopy for cyclists and pedestrians as well as a public facility where passengers can enjoy a light-lit path at night and a charging station for bicycles or smartphones. Solar Veloroute comes as a partially closed circular archway constructed from coated non-reflective glass solar panels, which are attached to round tube steel purlins.
While Solar Veloroute collects solar energy during the day for on-site charging and lighting stations, the excess energy collected can be distributed and used for additional services. Regarding the sustainable resource of the structure, Kuczia said, “Only one kilometer [Solar Veloroute] can provide about 2,000 MWh of electricity and can power 750 households or provide electricity for more than 1,000 electric cars that drive 11,000 km per year. ” To ensure that Solar Veloroute doubles as an informal educational experience for people to learn about sustainability, Kuczia put up display panels and posters with information about the benefits of using solar power on a global scale.
The cloth membrane provides an added layer of protection for pedestrians and cyclists while distributing light gently.
The partially closed photovoltaic arch is an architectural symbol for the change from a gas-powered lifestyle to a more sustainable one.
By following a series of repeating steel elements, Solar Veloroute can be replicated in all climates and cities with the same type of rectangular photovoltaic.
The photovoltaic panels collect solar energy to generate power for charging stations and overhead lighting.