Solar Ventilation

The primary goal of solar ventilation is to preheat air. The reason that more building owners are considering this option is because of its efficiency. Estimates show that approximately fifteen percent of a building’s heating load is the result of ventilation air being heated. By taking advantage of solar ventilation, a significant amount of energy previously used for this task can be saved.

Is Solar Ventilation a Realistic Option?

Solar ventilation is not only a realistic option for most commercial buildings, but it’s a smart choice. From laboratories to factories, this option can reduce the amount of energy that these buildings consume. Not only is this beneficial in monetary terms, but it’s also important for any building owner who wants to do their part to reduce their impact on the environment. While solar ventilation is an impressive piece of technology, it’s actually quite simple to have it installed. Because the only moving component of this type of system is the fan, you can depend on it to operate reliably once it’s installed. This reliability also means there are very few maintenance requirements that go along with solar ventilation. Unlike other forms of ventilation, you won’t ever have to worry about leaks or freezing.

How Does Solar Ventilation Work?

The reason solar ventilation is able to provide this type of functionality is thanks to a transpired collector. A transpired collector is a metal plate that’s painted and features small holes. Noteworthy measurements of a transpired collector are:

  • Each hole is 1 mm in diameter
    • The holes are positioned 3mm apart from each other
    • The entire collector is mounted 6 inches from a building’s south wall

The way that a transpired collector works is the result of conduction dominating heat transfer and the viscosity of air dominating the flow that takes place within the collector’s laminar boundary. The other factors that play a role are slightly farther away air having hot air that’s driven by convection and other air influenced by wind. Because the collector is painted black, it absorbs sunlight that hits it. It’s then transferred to the thermal boundary layer. Because this eliminates convection, heat loss doesn’t occur. While this seems like a very technical process, the bottom line is that it makes it possible for the fresh air that enters a building to be properly tempered.

What are the Requirements for Solar Ventilation?

The fan used in conjunction with solar ventilation plays a very important role in this process. The role of the fan is to ensure that there’s enough air for a constant flow to make its way through the transpired collector’s boundary layer. This is why it’s important to remember that preheating, not comprehensive heating, is the goal of this process. You will get much better results if you use solar ventilation in conjunction within another heating source instead of attempting to get your full heat supply from this method. By properly utilizing solar ventilation, you can save money and increase the overall efficiency of your building.


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