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efficiency of direct gain windows as solar collectors - Page 3

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Posted by Robert Scott on November 13, 2006, 11:59 am
It seems to me that unless extra steps are taken to increase thermal mass in a
room exposed to the sun, there is a natural limit to the amount of solar energy
that can be effectively used - regardless of the efficiency of the windows and
insulation system.  That limit is the temperature excursions that can be
tolerated in a living space.  On the other hand, an active system with
concentrated thermal mass can store more heat for the same temperature rise, and
can meter out the heat to the living space as needed.

Robert Scott
Ypsilanti, Michigan

Posted by nicksanspam on November 13, 2006, 1:31 pm

We can also do that with some dark mesh curtains and shiny ceiling mass
and a low-speed fan and a room temp thermostat and an occupancy sensor.


Posted by Gary on November 13, 2006, 9:48 pm
 Robert Scott wrote:


Well, either system requires storage if it takes in more heat than is needed to
supply the current heat demand.  For an active system its probably a tank and
pump, controller, and distribution system, for a passive system its thermal mass
that can be part of the house structure.

I'm in the middle of building the storage and distribution system for my new
bank of active collectors -- I have to say passive is looking better all the
time :)




"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects

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Posted by daestrom on November 13, 2006, 9:52 pm

Well, you might run a forced-air furnace's blower periodically during the
day to help distribute the heat.  I find this helps with just my plain old
double hung windows.  In the afternoon, the southwest facing rooms get a bit
warm, while the opposite side are cool.  Snap on the blower fan for a half
hour or so and everything feels fine again. YMMV


Posted by SJC on November 13, 2006, 10:06 pm
  I think the windows and blower idea are great.
If you invest $k in windows and shades versus $0k in an active system,
you would probably get more bang for the buck with of the windows.

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