An innovative Romanian project recently discussed at the annual Renexpo South-East Europe fair in Bucharest has many people in the solar industry talking. The project, designed and built around a residential setting, shows the potential of solar thermal to radically change the way buildings are heated.
Romania’s Geoterm used the Bucharest gathering to present Casa Solaris, a revolutionary residential home constructed using a number of renewable energy products. The heating and hot water systems were designed around the company’s solar thermal system. This system offers a number of revolutionary designs worth noting.
Wall and Ceiling Heating
When designing Casa Solaris, Geoterm took the unusual approach of creating a heating system built into the walls and ceilings. The concept is similar to radiant floor heating in that there are no fans or ducts involved, but it is remarkably different in the amount of power needed to operate the system. Geoterm estimates their system can properly heat a home throughout the year with an annual energy consumption of just 50 kWh per square meter.
Wall and ceiling heating is based on the idea of providing heat through a larger surface area while using less energy at the same time. When you consider the average room has four walls and a ceiling, it is easy to understand how much more efficient such a system would be as compared to even a radiant floor system or especially conventional forced air heating.
The second revolutionary design demonstrated by the Casa Solaris project comes by way of a storage system installed in the ground underneath the structure. Excess energy not used during the summer months is sent to the storage system for use during the winter. Employing some basic principles of physics allows the system to provide plenty of heat during the winter without the need for a heat pump. It also reduces the tendency to waste excess energy produced during periods when the structure does not need to be heated.
Adaptation to Commercial Projects
While the Casa Solaris project was designed around a residential application, the principles developed by Geoterm could easily be adapted for commercial projects. We can envision a day in which solar thermal will be used to provide not only space heat and hot water, but the energy necessary to power a wall and ceiling heating system as the one demonstrated in Bucharest.
We are excited about the potential of this project and what it means to the solar thermal industry in America. The highly efficient and productive nature of solar thermal easily makes it the most efficient form of solar energy production for nearly any application. At Solar America Solutions, we apply the principles of solar thermal in concert with our technologically advanced SunQuest 250 evacuated tube solar collector panel.
The SunQuest 250 requires just 21 ft.² of installation space per panel. A typical roof mounted installation can provide much of the space heat and hot water a facility needs while reducing total energy costs by as much as 50% and more. The success of our system is rooted primarily in evacuated tube technology.
Evacuated tubes are highly efficient because there is almost no loss of energy. Our solar collector panels are made even better by the fact that they utilize ultraviolet energy rather than direct sunlight. This means they operate even on cloudy and overcast days and are not affected by the ambient temperature.
We believe solar thermal is the future of solar energy around the world. We also believe it is your ticket to less expensive space heat and hot water for your commercial building, which has been demonstrated over and over in our scores of solar thermal installations throughout the United States. Contact us for more information.
1.Solar Thermal World – http://www.solarthermalworld.org/content/geo-solar-house-design-made-romania