Green Energy - Solar Cooling

Greenhouse - Green Energy - Solar Cooling

Solar CoolingWith electricity and fuel costs rising from a growing global demand for natural resources, now is a better time than ever to consider alternative methods for cooling your home.

Second only to wind, solar energy is the most widely used alternative to fossil fuels in the world. One of the most effective alternatives to conserve electricity used by traditional air conditioning is Solar Cooling.

Types - Solar Cooling can be broken into 3 basic categories Passive, Photovoltaic Conversation and Thermal.

Passive Solar Cooling - is less of a system and more of a holistic approach that involves alternative building materials, design and positioning. A passive approach to Solar Cooling is obviously easier to take into consideration when designing a home or an addition. However, alterations to existing structures can take advantage of some of the latest advancements in Solar Cooling technology.

Passive Cooling Methods:

  • Window Shades
  • Reflective Roofing
  • Reflective Paint

Photovoltaic Conversation - This is the process of converting Solar energy directly into electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) production is the fastest growing renewable resource for generating electricity in the world; almost doubling in out put every 2 years since 2002. However, current PV systems for generating enough electricity to operate conventional compressor based air conditioning units are cost prohibitive for most buildings and homes to deploy.

More efficient cooling systems are making the use of Photovoltaic Converters more affordable:

  • Geothermal Heat Pump System controls comfortable temperatures in the home using a closed system of buried tubing that pushes cooler temperatures retained by the earth into the home. The Environmental Protection Agency has named Geothermal Heat Pumps that most energy efficient means for cooling homes.
  • Non-compression air conditioning units are also becoming more readily available to the home owner. These devices use nothing more than water and use and a fan for space cooling.

Thermal Solar Cooling uses the chemical reaction of materials called absorption chillers to heat. Absorption chillers, better known as refrigerants, actually cool surfaces to the point of creating ice when heated to 190 degrees. One of the first refrigerant recipes used as far back as the 1800's was a mixture of ammonia and water.

Thermal Solar Cooling components include:

  • Solar energy panels
  • Network of tubing
  • Absorption Chillers or Refrigerant - Most widely used is a mixture of bromide lithium.

There are a relatively small number of structures using Thermal Solar Cooling, due to limitations in solar energy technology. In the past, solar energy receptors have not generated enough heat to activate a cooling reaction in absorption chiller materials. However, recent advancements in solar panel technologies will make thermal solar cooling more available and affordable for residential use.