Precast concrete floors with integral connected ducts can effectively move either cool or warm air throughout a building. The air is in contact with the thermal capacity of the concrete before entering the occupied space. This is a highly efficient means of achieving a high rate of air to slab heat transfer and vice versa and therefore the charging and discharging of cooling. The soffit of the slab should be exposed to effect maximum heat exchange with the occupied area. In this condition the hollow core slab can offset heat gains by up to 50 W/m2. One of the best-known proprietary systems using this technique is Termodeck from Sweden (see Fig. 3.10). There will be a further reference to this system in Chapter 15.
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The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.