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re: storing overnight solar heat from windows
20 mar 2004
anthony matonak   wrote:

>niels lyck wrote:

>>>a house of the future might have no windows at all. it might have
>>>insulated doors for fire egress and fans for ventilation and nice,
>>>efficient, electric lighting...
>> i must say i disagree. apart from the obvious "health aspects",

what are the "obvious health aspects"? is outdoor air from a window
healthier than outdoor air from a fan? does it smell different? is
sunlight from a window healthier than electric light? is it mentally
healthier to see and hear surroundings through a window than through
a cctv? when i wave to neighbors or visitors through a window, they
usually don't notice. cats like to sit on windowsills in the sun and
sometimes talk to the birds, but they also enjoy being near radiators. 

>>well insulated windows (u-value around 1 or a bit lower)

a metric u1 w/m^2c would be a us u0.176 btu/h-ft^2-f or less...

>>as far as i know actually contribute to the "energy household" of
>>a dwelling, at least on the danish latitude...

near philadelphia, a square foot of r4 south window with 50% solar
transmission would gain 500 btu on an average january day and lose
24h(65f-30f)1ft^2/r4 = 210, but it also loses 210 btu on a cloudy day,
which means the house needs a larger cloudy-day heat store, vs a house
that gets solar heat from an air heater or an isolated sunspace that
loses no heat at night or on cloudy days and can make higher air temps
for more efficient heat storage. people with serious window-cravings
might dwell in a sunspace during the day. how often do people look out
windows at night? they usually cover those big black cold expensive
holes in the walls with curtains at night. 

>if you divide out the various functions of a window and provide some
>form of technology that performs those functions better then it is
>quite imaginable that people might prefer these over plain windows.

windows add costly labor and air leaks and thermal bridging to houses.
"picture windows" can compromise privacy. windows add drama and money
to houses. look at the ads in fine architectural magazines.
windows, windows, windows. money, money, money.

>today the technology does not yet exist to cheaply replace the function
>of providing good light or views and even the ventilation technology
>could use some work.

one might say "good light" is uniform illumination, or controllable light
in patterns that please the occupants, even at night. an outdoor camera
and computer projector might provide outdoor views on an indoor wall. not
so bright as a window, but we might get used to that. perhaps we can use
a computer to change the view to a certain extent as we walk around a room,
or automatically zoom in to watch a deer. we might get used to that too.

now then. is it time to replace stairs with electric winches?


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