Solar thermal system in ecosmart house
A solar thermal system will be installed in the REHAU MONTANA ecosmart house to provide preheated domestic hot water. Solar collectors on the roof will be coupled to a solar storage tank via a pressurized glycol-filled loop. A heat exchanger will circulate domestic cold water through the solar storage tank prior to supplying the domestic hot water heater. After domestic hot water needs are met, valves will redirect excess solar energy to handle the load of the home's snow and ice melting system or to be stored in the surrounding geothermal borehole field.
How solar thermal systems work
Solar thermal systems absorb, transfer and store solar energy which can be used to provide domestic hot water or supplement a building's heating system. A solar collector absorbs the sun's energy into solar tubes where it is converted into usable concentrated heat. Copper heat pipes transfer the energy from the solar tubes into the copper header. A thermal transfer fluid is pumped through the copper header. The temperature of the circulating fluid is raised by 9-18°F (5-10°C). In a typical residence, solar energy can reduce costs for heating domestic water by up to 65 percent.
Solar thermal systems offer the most widespread possibilities for residential use of renewable energy, because they can be installed not only on single-family homes but also on row houses with little or no surrounding land. Solar thermal systems are also suitable for use on commercial buildings and recreational facilities such as swimming pools.
Solar collectors can be integrated into roof systems, mounted on building walls or ground-mounted on special racking systems. In addition to efficiently transferring solar energy, they must be designed to handle wind and snow loads.