Winter Energy Challenge

run on sun

We asked ReNew readers how they are reducing their winter energy use. We received some interesting and novel ideas—here is the winner!

We had many great entries from ReNew readers for our Winter Energy Challenge, from the simple to the complex, from a single lifestyle change to an entire lifestyle choice (see Karen Cheah’s excellent presentation at www. bit.ly/YZ0dYe).

The ATA crew particularly like the Trombe wall that replaces conventional heating in the home, making John S our Winter Energy Challenge winner. Read all about his trombe wall below.

John will receive a portable ‘Sydney Tube’ solar BBQ from Run on Sun worth $550.

WINNER—John’s Trombe wall

John S 

I had this idea for a solar heater many years ago, and thought if I ever built a house it would be a main part of the energy efficient design. Well, I had been beaten to the idea by a guy named Trombe—so it won’t be named John’s wall!

 

John used black painted corrugated steel to make a trombe wall to heat his home in winter.

 

Trombe made it using glass, but mine uses black painted corrugated steel. The principle is based on getting the sun to heat a cavity, with the warmed air thermosyphoning into the building. I had the advantage of computer fans to make the extraction of the warm air more efficient. The air enters the house through five vents.

The black corrugated steel wall is 2.4 m high and about 12 m along a 20 m north-facing wall. Windows break up the sections. The wall is 15° west of north facing. A veranda shades the wall to varying degrees, but completely from November to April.

The best winter days are clear, calm and cool. As soon as the sun hits the black wall it starts to warm, and by 11 am the air coming from the vent will be 28° C and as high as 49.7° C at 3 pm. I have saved running the reverse cycle air conditioner and still keep warm; saving money and the planet.

We’ll share more great entries with you over the coming weeks, or read the full article in ReNew 129.

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