500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Solar collector to be…


Today we chose the windows which will go in the south slope of the roof.  I would have liked to use Genersys Solar panels – they are made in Slovakia (the former partner of the Czech Republic) however I had the following problems:

  1. The local supplier has not written back (to an email written in Czech by a fluent friend)
  2. The cost
  3. Time (we need an affordable solution now)
  4. Materials (reuse is best as far as I’m concerned)

Instead we will install standard roof windows on the south side of the property, and under these place old radiators, painted black. Water coming into the house is at a constant 10°c.  In summer this is far below the ambient temperature. In the six months that the temperature here is above 10°c we will send water up to the roof to travel through a set of old radiators placed under the windows. This will raise the water temperature to 25°+ for much of the summer, even without heat from the sun.

The windows will provide a massive amount of light  in the attic – and we had planned to put windows in the roof anyway, and having all the windows in a south facing row will make the job of the roofers much easier. We are planning to add insulation under the attic floor & will monitor summer temperatures. We can always add a reflective film to the windows to cut down the amount of heat entering, or annex & ventilate that part of the roof if it really is too warm… but any additional heat in the winter will be very welcome.

In the winter, we will drain the system as soon as the temperature in the attic falls below 10°c. The reduced hours of light in winter months also means that any type of collectors would be less effective during this time. Happily this coincides with when our wood burning heating system will kick in. We are planning a range cooker in the kitchen with a back boiler to heat water & this will be on the go once temperatures fall in the autumn & winter months.

As well as fitting with the mantra of ‘reuse, recycle’ instead of always buying shiny, new things, our radiator solar collectors have the advantage of being elegant – ie completely hidden from view, as well as very easily accessible for maintenance. The radiators are to be located under 8 Roto windows (wooden frames inside, WITHOUT any special E glass) with dimensions of 740×1400 mm – which will cost the same amount as a single solar water heating panel.

posted under 2008, Heat, June, Summer, Water

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