Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Use Solar Power for Heat

By Alexei Nevic

We have gotten accustomed to having heat available at the push of a button, but it is often from inefficient sources. Heating homes,schools, and businesses with solar power is cost effective in addition to being much more efficient. Even in winter there are several ways to capture the sun's heat. In order to capture the heat from the sun you will need what is called a solar source. The source is something that will absorb and trap the heat from the sun's rays. A simple example of this is a sunroom.

A sun room is attached to the house and usually constructed of glass panels from floor to ceiling. Generally sun rooms are built facing the morning sun so they get the full effect of the sun's rays. The sun's rays are intensified by the glass so everything in the room is heated. This is a natural method of heating that is also very efficient.

Here are some other types of solar heat:

Thermal mass that absorbs and retains the heat of the sun while it is shining and then disperses it after the sun goes down.

A natural ventilation and solar heating system, the Trombe Wall, uses air channels to trap heat between glass and a solar mass facing the sun. That sunlight is then absorbed and stored in the wall before being circulated through vents in the top and bottom of the wall.The wall uses this to radiate the heat.

The solar chimney is another solar ventilation system. It is made from a thermal mass that is hollow inside. The chimney warms air inside of the chimney causing the heat to rise,allowing the air to circulate and vent properly.

A great way to ventilate a building is through solar cooling. Solar heat is absorbed and cooled with ice made by a solar powered steam engine that is attached to a cooling device.

There are of course many ways to heat and cool our homes and businesses, but the methods listed above demonstrate the ways it can be done using only the sun. This is one of the better ways because it uses only natural resources rather than through methods that use non renewable materials.

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