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re: solar closet
30 jun 1996
mike dickson  wrote:

>i am looking at renovating my house and would like to add a solar
>closet to the basement for heating and cooling in the summer. ( using
>water flowing through a thermal mass).

solar closets don't usually have flowing water. perhaps you have a damp
basement? :-) i wonder where your house is, and how much heat it needs
in the winter.

>i would like to use a solar concentrator and have it shine through
>a glass wall in the basement to the solar concentrator.

perhaps an outdoor 1.3:1 concentrator? a shallow frozen reflecting pond?

>is this a good idea or should i do the raising of heat and the cooling
>outside and use radiators in the house? any thoughts. i am just in the
>beginning of the plannning stage.

you might try working through a numerical example or three, eg:

suppose you have an 8' cubical house made with 6" concrete walls (with a heat
capacity of about 24 btu/f-ft^3) and r10 foam (2" of styrofoam) outside the
concrete. how many square feet of r1 shallow, low-thermal-mass sunspace
glazing do you need to keep the cube at an average indoor temp of 70 f for
24 hours a day, during a long string of average winter days, when it's 38.9 f
outside and the sunspace receives an average of 1130 btu/ft^2 over 6 hours? 

what will the day-night temperature swing be? 

what will the indoor temperature be, after a cloudy week?

how would this change with r20 walls?

and a couple of 55 gallon drums full of water inside the cube?

and if you put the 2 drums in a 2 x 4 x 8' tall r20 solar closet?

just playing with numbers may help...


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