Passive Solar Heat
In additional to solar thermal systems, which are active mechanical systems, Ameresco can ensure that facilities are maximizing their use of solar heat by passively utilizing the direct radiation on a building’s structure. Ameresco’s experienced energy services engineers can design buildings to capture more of the sun’s radiation, and building materials can be chosen to absorb and retain the heat, slowly releasing it at night or on cooler days.
Creating a Passive Solar “Chimney”
Each day, a building gains a portion of its heat just from sunlight hitting its exterior. By creating a passive solar “chimney,” buildings can retain or expel more of this heat as needed. The solar chimney is designed with a sun-penetrating glass shield on a southerly or westerly-facing solid wall, with a cavity several inches deep between the layers. With the sun’s heat concentrated between the glass shield and the wall, a convection of rising heat is created, which is captured by a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) at the top, which then circulates the heat into the building on cool days and expels it upward on warm days.