What if the vast, beautiful stained glass windows of cathedrals could be used to generate energy? Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel explored this idea with her project Current Window, a modern, sustainable update on stained glass. The window is a fantastic example of a solution to a universal problem that manages to be both useful and aesthetically appealing.
Using the electrical current generated when sunlight hits a pigment, a process very similar to that used by plants in photosynthesis, the window can generate and store energy from the sun, even from non-direct light. But the pretty pastel colored window also has a USB port built into its sill, which can be used to power devices like phones, which van Aubel says would require about seven hours of sunlight to build up enough juice to recharge an average phone. Not bad! “The greater the surface exposed, the more energy will be collected,” the designer writes on her website. “Imagine these windows in churches, schools, and workplaces!”