Storing summer solar heat for the winter
1/05/2006 08:31:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
I had the reverse (converse?) idea of this earlier - capturing the winter cold, in the form of pykrete, to cool buildings in the summer. This planned community is doing the opposite, capturing heat from the sun and storing it for winter.

Via Treehugger, Drake's Landing:

How it Works

  • 52-house subdivision to have space and water heating supplied by solar energy
  • Solar energy captured year round by 800-panel garage mounted array
  • Combination of seasonal and short-term thermal storage (STTS) facilitate collection and storage of solar energy in the summer for use in space heating in winter
  • Borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) is an in-ground heat sink for seasonal energy storage
  • Short-term thermal storage (STTS) tanks are central hub for heat movement between collectors, district loop (DL)/houses, and (BTES)
  • DL moves heat from the STTS to the houses

Location: Okotoks, Alberta. 51.1 deg N, 114 deg W, 1084 m elevation
Weather: Winter -33 C; Summer 28.3 C DB/15.6 C WB

Huunh? Alberta, Canada???

that's a tad north of Central New York even!

Pretty ambitious plan. Here is the link for how they plan to do it. Outside the box thinking to provide heating to residents - that is what CNY will need as the winters stay cold and the cost of gas and oil continues to climb.

(Yes I know that natural gas fell to $9 and change today, but I bet on the first cold snap she'll be right back up there to $12-14)
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On 5:26 AM , UNplanner said...

Novel Idea.

Centralized district heating is something missing from from N. AMerica (but seen more frequently in Sweden and Russia). It is certainly more efficient to run one large unit than several hundred smaller ones.

Having said that, my gut feeling is that this proposal is missing some serious thermal heating opportunities. First of all, the use of the glycol water solution limits the maximum temperature for long term thermal storage. Solar heat collection can reach significantly higher temperatures with other mediums. Perhaps a liquid/gas with a working temperature of several hundred degree maximum.

If the maximum temps were higher, a smaller (but better insulated) storage unit may suffice, necessitating fewer materials.

Excess heat production could be redirected for steam generation which could spin a small turbine to produce electricity. Maybe not alot, but more than the current proposal.

As for the units, use of radiant floor heating would provide a more constant heat than a blower driven system, while using less electricity. If the central heat storage temperature output was guarenteed to be higher, the need for backup water heating would be eliminated.

Speaking of those units, the design of the housing puzzles me. Why build houses with no side uses (windows, doors or sizable yards). Squeezing several (or all) together for an attached home community would expose fewer walls to the outside, lessening heat loss for all of the units.

10 square houses = 40 exposed sides
10 unit rowhouse = 22 exposed sides

As the development is currently proposed, any purchaser would already inherit communal charges. Why not build an attached complex and reduce some building expenses in the process.

I guess to sum it up, we need to see more construction like this, except built closer together with higher temperature collectors with opportunities for further synergies, such as electrical generation.

I wish I knew a developer willing to undertake something like this.

On 6:11 PM , RomeHater said...

This is more of a showcase design than an attempt to change the nature of homebuilding. The best way to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter is by living closer to the ground. A basement is exposed to less seasonal variations as ground maintains about 50 degrees (10C) all year round. Storage of energy over a period of months is usually pretty wasteful since it tends to dissapate. Solar and wind energy would be much more effective if there were non-battery storage solutions.

On 9:47 PM , peakguy said...

I've heard something before that after about 1-2 meters down the temperature is equal to the last decade's average temperature, which for most places in the US is 50-60 degrees - not too bad. Maybe we'll all just go underground Matrix-style.