Fast Co. Exist profiles a system that places the turbines where they can actually turn. The WindRail was designed in Zurich, Switzerland, where there isn’t enough space for a wind or solar park. Sitting between a building’s façade and the roof edge, the system combines wind and solar energy harvesting, taking advantage of the building’s air flows, even if it's in the middle of a city.
The system was developed by the Anerdgy. “When wind flows around the building, it creates a pressure difference between the façade and the rooftop. The façade has a higher wind pressure,” CEO of Anerdgy Sven Koehler told Fast Co. Exist. “Because we are channeling the wind and making a connection between the high and low pressure areas, the speeds are faster and we have more energy.”
Koehler, an engineer and economist, came up with the idea with the help of his parents. After years of research, he came up with the WindRail System and started the company in 2012.
According to the company, pressure effect accounts for 50% of the power the WindRail generates. The device comes in two meter modules and can generate 1,500 to 2,000 kWh a year. For comparison, the average U.S. home uses 10,837 kWh a year, Fast Co. Exist reports.