Solar Water Heating: One of the most cost-effective ways to include renewable technologies into a building is by incorporating solar hot water. A typical residential solar water-heating system reduces the need for conventional water heating by about two-thirds. It minimizes the expense of electricity or fossil fuel to heat the water and reduces the associated environmental impacts.
Active Solar Space Heating: Active solar space-heating systems consist of collectors that collect and absorb solar radiation combined with electric fans or pumps to transfer and distribute that solar heat. Active systems also generally have an energy-storage system to provide heat when the sun is not shining. The two basic types of active solar space-heating systems use either liquid or air as the heat-transfer medium in their solar energy collectors.
Liquid-based systems heat water or an antifreeze solution in a hydronic collector. Air-based systems heat air in an air collector. Air-based solar heating systems usually employ an air-to-water heat exchanger to supply heat to the domestic hot water system, making the system useful in the summertime. Both of these systems collect and absorb solar radiation, then transfer the solar heat directly to the interior space or to a storage system, from which the heat is distributed. An auxiliary or backup system provides heat when storage is discharged. Liquid systems are more often used when storage is included.
Solar Pool Heating: In a solar pool-heating system, the existing pool filtration system pumps pool water through the solar collector, and the collected heat is transferred directly to the pool water. Solar pool-heating collectors operate just slightly warmer than the surrounding air temperature and typically use inexpensive, unglazed, low-temperature collectors made from specially formulated plastic materials. Glazed (glass-covered) solar collectors are not typically used in pool-heating applications, except for indoor pools, hot tubs, or spas in colder climates. In some cases, unglazed copper or copper-aluminum solar collectors are used.
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