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Cooling and Ventilation with Solar Power - Solar Technology

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  • A thermal mass is a body that absorbs and holds heat. In the context of solar energy, it is a mass designed to store heat during sunny periods and release heat when sunlight levels are reduced or unavailable. A properly sized thermal mass will smooth out temperature swings and help keep rooms at a comfortable temperature throughout the day and night.

  • A Trombe wall is a passive solar heating and ventilation system consisting of an air channel sandwiched between a window and a sun-facing thermal mass. During the ventilation cycle sunlight stores heat in the thermal mass and warms the air channel causing circulation through vents at the top and bottom of the wall. During the heating cycle the Trombe wall radiates stored heat.

  • A transpired collector is a perforated sun-facing wall. The wall absorbs sunlight and pre-heats air as much as 22C as it is drawn into the ventilation system. These systems are highly efficient (up to 80%) and can pay for themselves within 3-12 years in offset heating costs.

  • Solar cooling can be achieved via absorption refrigeration cycles, desiccant cycles and solar mechanical processes. In 1878 Auguste Mouchout pioneered solar cooling by making ice using a solar steam engine attached to a refrigeration device.

  • A solar chimney (or thermal chimney) is a passive solar ventilation system composed of a hollow thermal mass connecting the inside and outside of a building. As the chimney warms the air inside is heated causing an updraft which enhances the natural stack ventilation through a building. These systems have been in use since Roman times and are common in the Middle east.

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