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(eBook) - Free Energy - Passive Solar Cooling, Part 2

(eBook) - Free Energy - Passive Solar Cooling, Part 2

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Published by: timannokaff on May 05, 2009
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02/14/2013

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66
Home Power #83 June / July 2001
I
n Part 1 of this series (see
HP82,
page 84), I outlined the three modesof heat transfer, and tried to integratethis knowledge with the factors ofhuman comfort. This information isbasic to any design or constructiongeared towards minimizing thediscomfort of living in the tropics.
In Part 2, I would like to show some of the designtechniques for dealing with the effects of heat andhumidity in a dwelling located in what we know as “thehumid tropics.” This label differentiates this climate fromthat of a hot, arid, desert type of environment. Thedesert might ultimately be hotter than the conditionsfound in the humid tropics. But the low humidity foundin the desert makes it practical to use some techniquesof dealing with the heat that we cannot use in morehumid locations.
Solar Incidence as a Design Element
The sun is the primary engine of heat gain in a tropicaldwelling. It is not usually ambient air temperature thatcauses heat discomfort, but the radiant energy ofsunlight, either directly or re-radiated in long waveinfrared. The first line of defense against heat buildup ina building is to minimize the surfaces that sunlight canfall on.It is obvious that the building’s roof is going to be themain absorber of solar energy. If the roof is designed toblock heat flow down into the dwelling, and made largeenough to cover and shade the walls, the builder shouldbe successful at reducing unwanted heat. This simpleconcept is more difficult to accomplish that it seems atfirst.If the sun was always in the high-noon position, the jobwould be simple, but it’s not. In the morning, it starts outshining low in the eastern sky. It can heat up abuilding’s walls for many hours before it rises highenough for the roof’s shadow to shield the east wallfrom radiant energy. In the afternoon, the sinking sunhas the same effect on the western wall.
Orientation for Minimum Incidence
Something can be done at the design stage to reducethis wall heating. The very first effective step is todesign and orient the structure on the building site sothat the areas of the east and west walls are minimized.Long, unshaded walls on the east and west sides ofa building can significantly contribute to the heatingproblem.This problem is not as severe on the northand south walls. The sun will be lower in thesouthern sky in winter when wall heating isnot as big a problem. But the sun willnever be as low in the southern sky as itis near sunrise and sunset in the eastand west, so engineering roofoverhangs to block the southern sunis much easier.
Roof Overhangs
In Figure 2, angle
A
representsdirectly overhead. Angle
B
has its pivot point at the baseof the south wall. It is plottedat the local angle of north latitude. Atthat angle, the sun would appear
Part II — Applied Construction
Cliff Mossberg
 ©2001 Cliff Mossberg
SNEW
84
°
50
°
SunriseSunriseSunsetSunsetSolar noon,approx.December 21,shortest daySolar noon,approx.June 21,longest day
For Barton Creek, Belize, approximately 17
°
North Latitude
 1  7
    °
   N o r  t  h
Figure 1: Seasonal Variation of the Solar Path
 
67
Home Power #83 June / July 2001
Cooling
directly overhead at the equator on the days of the solarequinox.
A
is easy to find—it is straight up.
B
is easy tocompute graphically once local latitude is known. Onceyou have
B,
you have a baseline.If we swing an angle north 23°from
B
, we will have thenorthernmost angle of the sun’s travel in the sky inBelize. In this case, it is an angle of 6°north of vertical,or 84°vertical declination from level ground, pointingnorth (Figure 1). I have labeled this line
C
1
. If
C
2
isdrawn at the exact same angle as
C
1
, but touching theedge of the roof overhang on the north wall, the lowerextension of
C
2
will indicate the path of the sun’s rayson the north side of this building.In this case, the sun will not ever touch the base of thenorth wall.
C
3
is the position the sun would have totravel to for it to begin to heat the base of the wall.
C
3
isan imaginary angle, since the sun is never that far downin the northern sky at this time of day and this locationin Belize. This shows us that a standard 2 foot (0.6 m)overhang on the north edge of the roof is sufficient toshade this north wall at all times of the year at thislocation.Returning to our baseline
B
, we need to turn another23°angle, south from
B
this time, just as we turnednorth before. This will produce line
D
1
, the angle of thesun’s rays at its extreme southern sky position. It isimmediately obvious that
D
1
does not touch both thebase of the south wall and the edge of the roofoverhang. We know from this that the roof overhang isinsufficient, even at 3 feet (0.9 m), to completely shadethe south wall.The south roof overhang would have to be extended allthe way out to 5 feet 2 inches (1.6 m) to completelyshade the wall. This large overhang would bestructurally weak in high winds, and would also hangdown far enough to block the view out of windows onthe south wall. Acompromise between 100 percentshade, vision, and structural rigidity will be necessary.There are at least two possible solutions to this need forcompromise. In Figure 2, I have chosen to construct
D
2
as a line parallel to
D
1
but moved over enough so that ittouches the south roof overhang. If it is extended downto intersect the wall, the lower projection of
D
2
represents the limit of the south wall shading. Above theintersection with the wall will be shaded; below will seedirect sun at this time of the year. The line of shadeappears here to be sufficient to keep the sun’s rays outof the window openings.
Vegetation
Trees and shrubs that shade the structure are oneapproach to blocking sunlight. From a practicalstandpoint, it is difficult and extremely expensive to addmature trees of any size to a building design. The usualprocedure is to plant smaller ones and tolerate the sun
Figure 2: Angles of the Sun and Cast Shadows
Local latittude: 17
°
10'(rounded off to 17
°
)Sun directly overheadtwo times a yearProjected line of the eave’sshadow on the south wall atnoon, on the shortest dayof the year (winter solstice)Position of the sun inthe sky at noon onwinter solstice,lowest seasonal travelLines
D
1
&
D
2
are parallel2' 0"Position of the sunat northern extreme of travelon summer solsticeSun'sposition atequinoxMaximum amount of south wall exposed towinter sun. This exposure is a compromise toallow for a reasonable (3 ft.) roof overhang,rather than the 5 ft. 2 inches necessary toshade the entire wall. A 3 ft. overhang willblock sun from shining in the windows at noonduring the warmest time of the year.40
°
North porch isshaded from thesun at its mostextreme northernpositionAngle of the sun in the northern skyon the day of summer solstice6
°
16
°
AB
C
2
C
1
D
3
17
°
Projected line of the eave’s shadowat the angle of sun that willcompletely shade the wall6
°
40
°
3' 0"5' 2"
NS
Base of wallAll angles are drawn from this point4"12"3:1 slopeTilt of the Earth's axis in relation to the sun is 23
°
27'(rounded off to 23
°
for our purposes)23
°
23
°
D
2
D
1
C
3
 
68
Home Power #83 June / July 2001
Cooling
until the smaller trees are big enough to produce shade.Unfortunately this can take ten years or longer. Wherepossible, keep what you have.Vining plants are a good alternative to trees, with oneserious caveat. One of the goals of a tropical housedesign is the exclusion of termites from the woodenparts of the structure. This can be done by buildingelevated columns with termite collars on top. Anyvegetation planted on the ground and close enough tothe structure to touch it will provide a path for termitesto circumvent the exclusion features of the design.Without the termite problem, it would be effective to usea trellis on the east and west walls. Vining plants suchas passion fruit can intercept the sunshine and put it togood use growing flowers or edibles.
Wall Shading with Architectural Elements
It is possible to use architectural elements to moderatedirect sun on the walls. Properly designed architecturalscreens can be made to block and modulate sunlight togood advantage. The photo above illustrates the use ofsuch a screen, here composed of simple decorativeconcrete blocks placed together into a pleasing texture.This very effectively opens up a whole wall to air andmuted sunlight.This screen can conceal wooden or metal louvers fittedwith insect screens. These can be opened for the warmdry weather, but closed for storms. In this design, theconcrete screen is integrated as part of an upscale-style Belizian house. It will take a substantial foundationto support such a screen. Such massive architecture isnot necessary.Hassan Fathy describes a traditionalscreen used throughout the MiddleEast that is made up of round turnedspindles arranged into a rectangulargrid. It is known as a mashrabiya.The same term is used to describevertical louvered blinds that can beadjusted to shade an entire wall.Both of these devices allowconditioned light to enter thebuilding for illumination, whileblocking the strong exterior sunlight.The harsh contrast of the sunbeating on the outside of the screenblocks outsiders from seeingthrough the screen to the inside. Butit allows someone on the inside toeasily see out into the brightexterior.
Window Shading Devices
There are two problems to deal withif you wind up with sunshine on your outer walls. Thereis the re-radiation of the solar energy into the interiorfrom the walls. I’ll deal with that next. But first I want todeal more thoroughly with the problem of solar energydirectly heating the interior space through the windowopenings. Where this is a problem, the windowsthemselves can be constructed to block the sun’s raysthrough reflective glass coatings and through the use ofsolar screens.Jalousie windows are commonly used in the tropics.They use single panes of glass to form the louvers.These single panes have virtually no insulation value. Incontrast, double and triple pane argon-filled glass usedin the colder regions are designed primarily to blockconductive and radiant heat flow outward, not tofacilitate natural ventilation inward. They would bevaluable in an air conditioned house.While air conditioning has a role in tropical cooling, it isnot going to be a factor in our passive design focus. Wewant to foster good air circulation and a design thatexcludes solar radiation. Jalousie windows glazed withglass that uses reflective films can do this.Glass can be made with a permanent reflective coatingdeposited on one face. This is conventionally eitherbronze or aluminum in color. This coated glass canblock up to 80 percent of the heat energy in incomingsunshine. Films that can be applied to uncoated glassare also available for this purpose, and provideapproximately the same excellent result. The downsideto reflective coatings is a reduction in the amount ofvisible light entering a house for general illumination.
A wall of decorative concrete block allows ventilationand provides shade,transmitting only muted light.

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