Heat storage

Solar radiation striking the envelope of a house could easily cover the entire need for space and water heating for the year. The problem is to store it, with minimal losses and at an affordable price. On a less ambitious scale, storage can store heat from sunny periods when heat production exceeds demand in order to make it available for overcast periods. Solar water tank technology is very highly optimized, with various solutions, including how to preserve the stratification in the tank, minimize tank heat losses and programme the control strategy to maximize the overall storage collector total system efficiency.

For space heating, the most direct form of storage is the building mass itself. Wooden frame housing, growing in popularity in Europe and long dominant in North America, lacks the heat storage capacity of masonry and concrete construction. Such massive construction increases the usability of passive solar gains by being able to store daytime window solar gains and then releasing the heat at night. An interesting means of increasing the heat storage capacity in light-frame construction is to incorporate a phase change material. An example is the addition of micro-

encapsulated paraffin in gypsum board, dramatically increasing its thermal capacity.

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