STEPHANIE BERCHT Staff Writer
Stratton wants to facilitate the incorporation of sustainable practice in his home country of Bermuda.
“My focus was to help Bermuda reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuel. It was a big ambition,” says Hatfield.
He began thinking of this project during the winter break and has developed it in the last two and a half months. He tailored his concept to alternative energies, and settled on solar power. “Solar power has been around since the ’70s, and the technology is well developed,” he said.
His two major interests were Bermuda and what incentives the island provided, and the purchasing of solar power. The question was, why are people not interested?
Hatfield contacted the Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s national online newspaper, to get feedback on his target market, Bermudians, and their insights on photovoltaic solar solutions. The design opportunity revealed itself, as current solar-powered cells were “ugly and devalued the aesthetic quality” of the existing buildings.
Initially, Hatfield wanted to have a solar solution that complemented the Bermudian architecture. He was steering towards applying thin film to roofs, but his senior studio professor, Peter Fossick, told him “to go beyond the roof.”
After looking at other applications— such as umbrellas, walkways, and bus stops— Hatfield narrowed his concepts to shutters and awnings.
His final design constitutes side-hung and top-hung shutters with photovoltaic film on the slabs. At the bottom of the shutter is a photo-cell that picks up on the sunlight’s direction and coordinates with the slabs’ angles to most efficiently absorb the sunlight. The top-hung shutters are most closely related to the typical Bahama shutters, which are larger and cover the entire window.
The traditional shutters are held open by a stick, but Hatfield redesigned his photovoltaic shutters to be held open at the top by an electronic actuator, which is coordinated with the photo-cell.
These shutters not only harness the energy from the sunlight, but they also serve as shutters for shade and have a non-intrusive design. Hatfield’s concept also provides an online service. The Web site allows customers to create an account and sign in— or as Hatfield excitedly described, “shine in,”— to features such as tracking solar solutions, possible future investments, and tracking how much energy they are making and money they are saving, “like a solar calculator.”
When contemplating his senior project, Hatfield wishes he had more time. “Peter is pushing me out of my shell, making me do things I haven’t done before. He’s a good teacher but I’d never tell him that,” said Hatfield.
Photo of Stratton Hatfield by Stephanie Bercht
Photo of architecture by Chloe Kemp