Converting A South Facing Window Into A Solar Space Heating Panel

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 A south facing window in any Passive Solar House design can be optimized by using a flat black metal shade to create a solar space heating panel out of any window. The flat black metal type of shade will absorb the radiant solar heat of the sun with more efficiency than the floor of the room, and it can be kept closed day or night and not effect its performance, acting to close off the window day or night, while not blocking the radiant heat.

 The shade will heat up while the air in contact with it will travel upwards as it is heated, creating hot air convection currents. Heavy insulated drapes closed over the shade will create a cavity where the air will enter behind this cavity near the floor and travel up due to air convection principles and exit near the ceiling as heated air.

  Adjustment of the shade slats to make the shade flat with respect to the window and blocking the light, will help with the degree of heat absorption, while leaving a little bit of opening between each slat allows for air currents to pass between them effecting a better amount of heat removal, hence the shade acts as your solar space heating panel heat exchanger.

  In Passive Home designs, the home owner closes the drapes at night for privacy reasons and must remember to get up early enough to open them in the morning to allow the radiant heat of the sun into the home. Using this method you can forget having to bother with this and keep them closed during the day but still acquire the radiant solar heat for use in your home. In effect you have turned you window into a passive solar space heating panel, while no one actually realizes that this is how it functions.

  In the summer time you raise the black metal shade so that no solar radiation can reach it, and you may keep the drapes closed in the summer, furthermore the south facing wall will have to have some sort of solar shading added to it on the exterior.

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Comment by Dannie Jackson on February 17, 2019 at 12:51am

No if you use solar heat gain software the angle of the sun on the floor for instance looses energy due to the reflection angle the same way with the solar glazing. The better means of absorption is in the vertical plane of the window with respect to the angle of the sun, and the black shades are better at absorption than lets say a wood or ceramic tile floor. Furthermore you do not have to open the shades immediately in the morning to start off the day capturing solar heat since the black metal shades do this. This being one of the points made here. You do not have to commit to have the shades being open all the time in order to capture solar heat gain. In the summer time with solar shading features on the exterior of the home, the sun will not shine on the shades.

This will allow privacy with the shades closed but you are not loosing solar energy with them closed because they are collecting the solar energy and converting it to heat, with the flat black metal shades being better at absorption and radiation of the heat. Using the same principle as a solar space heating panel.

Comment by Morgan M Audetat on January 2, 2019 at 3:09pm

Kind of defeats the primary purpose of "shades" doesn't it? If you wish to "collect" solar energy in the space, why not open the shade and let the room absorb energy increasing the target surface area dramatically. 

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