How SolarWall® Works
The SolarWall® air heating system is a custom engineered solution containing many internal and external components. It uses solar energy to heat and ventilate indoor spaces in new and retrofit applications, as well as to heat air for manufacturing process and agricultural crop drying applications. The system design is optimized to maximize energy delivery with a minimum amount of static pressure in the airflow.
The most visible component of the system tends to be the exterior metal “solar cladding”; however a significant amount of the science behind SolarWall is in the internal framing design and component shapes. Special vent-slit perforated collector panels are installed several inches from a south facing wall, creating an air cavity. (Southeast, southwest, east, and west wall are also possible.) The SolarWall cladding (transpired solar collector) is heated by the solar radiation from the sun, and ventilation fans create negative pressure in the air cavity, drawing in the solar heated air through the exterior panel perforations. The proprietary manufacturing equipment and design process - for both the panels and the framing system - are used to control the amount of airflow through the perforations. This maintains a consistent draw across the entire wall surface and ensures the cooler air beyond the heated boundary layer is not introduced into the air stream.
The air is generally taken off the top of the wall (since hot air rises) and that ensures that all of the solar heat produced is collected. The heated air is then ducted into the building via a connection to the HVAC intake. On a sunny day, the air entering the air handling unit will already be heated – anywhere from 30-70°F (16-38°C) for a conventional SolarWall system and 36-100°F (20-55°C) for a 2-Stage SolarWall system. This reduces, or may even eliminate, the conventional heating load during the day. The solar heated fresh air is then distributed into the building through the existing HVAC system or with separate air makeup fans and perforated ducting.
There are many variations to the SolarWall technology, based on a building's energy requirements or a customer's objectives. Examples include conventional single-stage SolarWall systems that can be styled, shaped and angled in a variety of colors; 2-Stage SolarWall systems for higher temperature rises; and rooftop SolarDuct® systems (these are usually 2-Stage systems to deliver higher temperature rises).
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