Solar air heating is one of the simplest way to produce energy with a south-facing wall, and two writers with Alberta’s Pembina Institute are talking about a do-it-yourself solar heater they built with “found materials, pop cans, and about $80 worth of materials from a local hardware store.”
The design is based on the more sophisticated SolarWall, developed 30 years ago for commercial applications by Toronto-based Conserval Engineering. The company “put a modern solar air heater on Ford’s Oakville, Ontario, factory in 1990. Since then Ford has installed solar air heating systems on seven more of their plants, saving them more than $10 million in heating costs,” Dodge and Kinney write.
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“And this technology has spread—Conserval has installed these systems in hundreds of commercial applications around the world.”
By pre-heating incoming cold air, building operators can cut heating costs 20 to 30%, producing paybacks of five to 13 years on their technology investment.
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