Saturday, June 8, 2013

Using Reflectors to Improve Collector/Window Solar Gain

I've added a new section that covers using reflectors to improve the performance of solar collector  or passive solar gain windows.

The section covers:

  • Design tables that allow you determine the benefit of reflectors of various sizes and to optimize the placement of the reflector.
  • An easy to build earth-sun simulator that allows you to see how a reflector of a given size and shape will perform for any location at any time of the year at any hour of the day.
  • Examples of the use of reflectors to improve collector performance.
Reflectors offer a uniquely effective way to increase the energy produced by a collector in that they increase the solar energy incident on the collector without increasing the heat losses from the collector -- so, you get both an increase in solar input and an increase in collector efficiency -- see the new section for more on this.

This earth-simulator allows reflector performance to be seen  for
any location and for any time of year and for any time of day.
A quick spin of the turntable shows the reflector light pattern for a full day.
Can also be used for shading and lighting studies.
Lots of fun!
Example of reflector performance table.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Design Challenge: Help ClubRust with Solar Heating Low Income Homes

ClubRust builds several low cost homes for families in northern Mexico each year. They would like to work out a way to insulate and solar heat these homes. The very small budget for these homes makes this a difficult design challenge.

So, here is your chance to help out with some ideas for solar heating and insulating these homes on a tight budget.
The ClubRust crew and one of their homes 
What's Needed:
Most cost effective means to insulate and heat small houses in mild winter climate with little or no electricity.

Ideally the solution would provide heat thru a few cloudy days and cost less than $700.

Typical house is 320sf wood-frame construction on concrete slab -- see the link below for full details.

ClubRust home under construction.

Take some time to think over this solar heating and insulation challenge, and contribute your ideas and  comments at the link just above.


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