When installing a solar-heating system into an existing building, the best choice is a water storage system with radiant heat delivery. For new construction, you have the water and high-mass sand-bed storage options.
By BOB RAMLOW
For its comfort and economy, radi- ant heating is growing in popularity. Pairing a radiant heat-delivery system with solar energy as the heat source is an excellent choice for several rea- sons. Above all, these systems can operate efficiently and effectively at
the relatively low temperatures common with
solar energy systems. They’re relatively easy to
retrofit into an existing building and can be easily incorporated into new construction. Some
systems can be accurately controlled, just like
conventional heating systems. Radiant systems
are virtually maintenance free, and because they
use no fans, they don’t circulate dust and allergens around the home. They’re often the least
expensive heating systems to operate.
Radiant system components are readily
found at plumbing supply stores, and system
cost will depend on the difficulty of the installation. Integrating solar heat into a radiant system
is relatively easy for most good plumbers. Before
we get started designing a solar radiant heating
system, it is prudent to know how these systems
work and to understand our options.
Radiant heating systems are
almost always the best way to
deliver solar heat into a building.
Copyright © 2009 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
Bob Ramlow is CEO of Artha Sustainable Living
Center near Amherst, Wis. He has been active in
the solar thermal field professionally for more than
30 years. He is a North American Board of Certified
Energy Practitioners-Certified Solar Thermal Installer and is an Interstate Renewable Energy Council/
Innstitute for Sustainable Power Quality-Certified
Solar Thermal Independent Master Trainer. Ramlow
serves as the solar thermal technical consultant for
the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program. He also
teaches solar thermal courses nationwide. Access