I chose the wrong day to take pictures of this building on Quai de Valmy. The facade of this social housing building, managed by Emmaüs, is covered with photovoltaic panels.  According to a review in Architecture / Urbanisme, the sparkling, blue green panels blend with the colours of the canal which runs in front of it.  Today, as I sheltered the camera under my umbrella, the building and canal were both a somber shade of grey.

The building has been designed to blend inconspicuously into the lines of the street pattern but it is far from ordinary.  130 photovoltaic panels (in 70 different formats) cover the 180 square metre facade and produce around 7 MWh of electricity a year, around 40% of the building’s consumption.  On the roof, 50 square metres of solar thermal panels produce around 40% of the hot water used by the building’s residents.   The remainder of the roof is made up of planted terraces.

The building’s architect, Jean-Louis Rey, worked closely with the German manufacturers of the PV panels to produce a facade that was both ‘productrice et seduisante’ (or productive and very attractive).  I’ll be back for another look when the sun comes out.