Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY Insulating Window or Door Shutters Using Astrofoil Reflective Insulation

Bruce has worked out a DIY thermal shutter design that uses Astrofoil to provide a high R value, easily installed thermal shutter for windows or doors.

Astrofoil is similar to Reflectex, but is stiffer and holds it shape better for thermal shutters.  Both products are basically polyethylene bubble sheet with a reflective layer on each side.  While the bubble sheet is not thick enough to provide a lot of R value, the two reflective layers and the air films on each side of the foil makes for a good R value thermal shade.

Astrofoil thermal shutters in the open position.

Same shutter closed for the night.

The Astrofoil can be used with or without a frame.  The pictures above show the very nice looking DIY wood frames with Astrofoil inserts, and the picture below shows Astrofoil without a frame placed in a window.  The frameless version is made by just cutting the Astrofoil a little larger than the window frame opening and pushing it into place.

The 5 minute Astrofoil shutter -- cut it out and push it into place.
All the details here...


Monday, September 17, 2012

DIY Solar Water Heating System in Southeastern Pennsylvania

This is a nicely done $1K style solar domestic water heating system built by Matt in Pennsylvania.

Matt's two copper/aluminum collectors on the roof.
The system uses two homemade collectors in which the absorber is made from copper tube risers with black aluminium fins to transfer heat into the riser tubes.  The collector is glazed with polycarbonate sunspace glazing, which holds up well to high temperatures harsh weather.  These are relatively easy to build and all the materials are available at the local hardware.

Laying out the collectors in the living room - not generally a spouse approved method.
One of the unique features of Matt's build is the use of a copper pipe coil for the heat exchanger.  Most of the $1K designs have used a coil of PEX for this purpose.  This heat exchanger is used to heat the incoming cold water in a single pass before it goes to the regular hot water heater.  Since it only gets the single pass to do the heating, it has to be an efficient heat exchanger.   The copper coil appears to be doing well -- more of the details on that will be added when Matt finishes some tests he is running.

The coil of copper heat exchanger inside the 250 gallon heat storage tank.

All the details on Matt's DIY solar water heating system...


Friday, September 14, 2012

Craigslist to promote causes or ideas

It looks like Craigslist can be used as a free way to promote causes or ideas.

I found this link: in my traffic report the last few days -- it is basically a person in Reno who built the solar heated stock tank, and is using Craigslist to tell people it works fine and that he recommends.

This seems like a pretty good way to get the word out on good projects or good ideas?

Don't know what the Craigslist folks think of using this approach?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Increasing AC Efficiency Using Evaporative Cooling of Condenser Coil

This project from Chad adds an evaporative cooler around the outside of a conventional outside AC condenser coil.  The evaporation of the water in the cooler pads cools the air going into the condenser coil and substantially increases both the capacity and efficiency of the AC unit.

Evaporative cooler on condenser coil.

Chad provides a lot of detail on how to build the unit.  All of the parts are readily obtained locally or online.

The picture above shows the screen enclosure for the evaporator pads.  The pads fit between the two screens and are the same type of material as used in regular evaporative coolers.

The pump and all the valves fit in a 5 gallon bucket that sits next to the condenser coil unit.

An advantage of this method compared to just spraying water directly on the condenser coil is that mineral deposits do not build up on the coil.

All the details on building this system here...


Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Home Page with "Web Walk"

Build-It-Solar has a new home page as of this morning....

About the only significant change is that the "New Content" area has been expanded to include a "Web Walk" section that gives some news items that might be of interest to people who are into renewable energy and building projects. The new page layout also gives a more complete overview of all the subject areas that Build-It-Solar covers.

I added the "News" section because I spend some time on most days looking at quite a few sites for new projects or project ideas, and I thought I might as well pass along other things of interest that I run across.
I plan to add a batch of "News" links every few days -- these sections are labeled "Web Walk" in the "New Projects" column on the home page.

If the new home page gives you any problems, or you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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