Systematic Use Of Solar Energy Can Yield Large Saving

Systematic use of solar energy can yield a large saving in the cost of winter space heating for a typical house in the north central United States. If the house has good insulation, you may model it as losing energy by heat steadily at the rate 6 000 W on a day in April when the average exterior temperature is 4°C, and when the conventional heating system is not used at all. The passive solar energy collector can consist simply of very large windows in a room facing south. Sunlight shining in during the daytime is absorbed by the floor, interior walls, and objects in the room, raising their temperature to 38°C. As the sun goes down, insulating draperies or shutters are closed over the windows. During the period between 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M. the temperature of the house will drop, and a sufficiently large “thermal mass” is required to keep it from dropping too far. The thermal mass can be a large quantity of stone (with specific heat 850 J/kg . °C) in the floor and the interior walls exposed to sunlight. What mass of stone is required if the temperature is not to drop below 18°C overnight?

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