Solar Energy for Heating, Ventilation and Cooling

Energy from the sun to cool your home? Incredible

It seems funny to say that you can cool your home with solar energy, since solar energy comes from the sun, but it is true. You can cool your home with this energy source.

Nearly 50% of all power used in residential buildings in the United States is from some form of air conditioning, heating or ventilation. Using solar technologies, this amount of energy can be offset.

Thermal mass, by definition, is any material that can store heat. So, in a solar energy sense, this would be any material that can absorb heat during the day and then use that heat to radiate heat to the cooler atmosphere at night. But, it can also be used to keep you warm at night, when the temperature is low. Some thermal mass materials are water, cement and stone.

Some factors to consider when contemplating building with thermal mass materials are climate, day lighting, and/or shading considerations. When these items are accounted for and used properly, thermal mass maintains temperatures that are comfortable, and reduces the need for heating and cooling.

Solar chimneys can also be used. This is a passive solar system that is made up of a vertical shaft that connects the interior of the house to the outside. When the air inside the chimney gets warm, it causes an updraft that pulls air through the building. These systems can be more efficient when they use thermal mass materials. These systems have been around since Roman times and are still in use in the Middle East.



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