Workshops: DIY Solar Water Heating, Jul. 29/Aug. 12, Free/$10

This year our major research project is a DIY solar water heating system that will provide both domestic hot water and space heating. As these two activities account for the majority of domestic energy use, they are low-hanging fruit for cutting our use of fossil fuels. We will be building and experimenting with approachable solar … More Workshops: DIY Solar Water Heating, Jul. 29/Aug. 12, Free/$10

Solar Collector Designs to be Tested

Since we are committed to creating human-scale, DIY solutions, we will be experimenting with three models of collectors that are straightforward enough to be built in one’s own home. Yesterday we introduced the five different types of conventional solar collectors. We also live in an area that experiences deep freezes and therefore we cannot test … More Solar Collector Designs to be Tested

Conventional Solar Collector Designs for Heating Water

In addition to the regional and local solar resources available, the efficiency of the solar collector plays a role in the overall amount of energy a system can absorb. Plenty of designs are out there but they generally fall into five categories: simple unglazed collectors, flat-plate collectors, evacuated-tube collectors, integral-collector storage, and concentrating collectors. Simple, … More Conventional Solar Collector Designs for Heating Water

Regional Solar Resources

To develop a system for heating water and air through solar and wind power (Research Project No. 1), it is necessary to have an idea of what one’s local resources are. Luckily, we have baseline data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This laboratory, under the Department of Energy, has national resource maps for solar, … More Regional Solar Resources

Major Research Project No. 1 — Water and Home Heating

We’ll be running various small-scale concurrent research projects here at the institute, but each year we’ll focus our attention on a specific problem. This year we will look at hot water. A formal research proposal, funding requests, and volunteer opportunities will be coming out this spring, but for now, I’ll be posting initial information and … More Major Research Project No. 1 — Water and Home Heating