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re: whacky low-tech "solar wall" idea/s???
26 feb 2003
puncturevine  wrote:

>> >basically i bought some cheap black fabric and hung that on the exterior
>> >of the wall...
>> what kind of fabric? black aluminum window screen works. home depot sells
>> 4'x25' rolls for $25.
>my fabric was just cheap poly stuff from k-mart about 55" wide, sold
>by the yard for making clothes, etc...

greenhouse shadecloth might work behind a polyethylene cover which limits
the collector temp to about 110 f. window screen seems safer, at about the
same price. 

> a collector substance i thought fabric would be best... wouldn't
>black fabric that is relatively "solid" (not much space in between
>threads) better than black screen in terms of total amount of black
>collector surface?

maybe, but less porous fabrics require more fan power, and after air
and sun pass through the fabric, they lose little heat to the glazing. 

>the polycarbonate is an interesting option, particularly if the
>difference in efficiency is significant.  but cost-wise it comes out
>about equal doesn't it?  a 16x10 collection surface is $320 for the
>polycarb, or $32/year assuming it lasts 10 years...

>...the polycarb would be more permanent, although it would have to be covered
>in summer.

that would keep the house cooler and make the polycarb last longer, but
it should be fine uncovered with a few vents to the outdoors at top and
bottom. an alternative is to put some fin-tube near the top of the wall
warmer for year-round water heating, with no vents. 
>> greenhouse poly film has uv inhibitors and a 4-year guarantee...

>how much does the greenhouse poly run?

about 5 cents/ft^2, which makes the yearly cost about 1 cent/ft^2,
vs 20 cents for polycarbonate.


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