Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Solar Heat Underutilized and Underappreciated

A few weeks ago, events transpired which again brought to light the potential of solar heat. This potential is often overlooked, underutilized and underappreciated.

The events began with myself checking the thermostat in my little rental cottage in North Carolina. It read 56 degrees F, the point where my typical strategy of adding a sweater or vest in cold weather begins to reach its limits. After all, I believe the overnight temperature was in the 30's and I'd noticed that the cottage had a minimum of insulation. But, before I could convince myselt to turn on the heat and start the string of events that leads to higher utility bills and increased carbon dioxide in the air, I noticed the sun was shining outside and looked quite pleasant.

I decided to check out the lawn rather than turning the heat on. Sure enough the sun was shining brightly and with a little activity, I was quite comfortable. Then, I had a need to jump in my car, where the temperature was uncomfortably warm.

That turned me to thinking about solar collectors and then the attic.... I wondered what this sunshine was doing in the attic. I grabbed my trusty thermometer and made a visit. Sure enough, the temperature near the peak of the attic was 95 degrees.

Think about it...Here I was, about to turn up the heat, when it was 95 degrees just 4 feet from my ceiling! There has got to be a way to harness the heat in the attic and take advantage of the free solar heat so close by. For those who have followed my blog, you'll know I have lots of ideas. Unfortunately, they'll have to wait until I have a place of my own. Then, let the fun begin!!!


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Jim said...

This is why we prefer Southern Exposures here in Chicagoland. My Parents have a house with a lot of windows facing south. Even in January, with temperatures that can easily get below zero, the heat will not go on until sundown, the sun heats the entire house through the windows and it can get quite warm. We've known about this for decades up here.

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