Sun Supplies Heat For This House (Feb, 1940)

Sun Supplies Heat For This House
OLD SOL provides the heat for the hot water system in this new sun laboratory, recently completed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for research on using the sun rays for house heating and power generation. The man on the roof is Dr. Byron B. Woertz, research assistant, who is inspecting energy collectors, or “heat traps,” in which circulating water is heated by sunlight and stored in a large basement tank for future use.

  1. George says: September 3, 20092:27 pm

    It’ll never catch on. Imagine having those eyesores on your roof, when you can have electric heat for a fraction of the cost.

  2. Vertro says: November 8, 20093:34 pm

    But is it not the days when the sun is not shining that you need heat for your home? I see no use for these things.

  3. Firebrand38 says: November 8, 20094:45 pm

    Vertro: That’s a pretty dumb thing to say. You must have stopped reading just before the part where it says, “circulating water is heated by sunlight and stored in a large basement tank for future use”

    That whole “future use” thing? That’s an abstract concept that the Sun doesn’t have to be shining.

  4. jayessell says: November 9, 200912:09 pm

    I remember seeing plans for these homes in 1960s era Edmund Scientific Catalogs!

    If the storage tank were higher than the collector the water would circulate without pumps.
    (Tank full or rocks? Surrounded by rocks?)

    I can’t remember if the water is mixed with alcohol (antifreeze) or some salt solution
    (So that the fluid holds more BTU per Gallon.)
    ((There’s some salt that stores/releases energy by freezing/melting. Phase change?))

  5. Jari says: November 9, 20096:43 pm

    Just some thoughts: You can see a lot of such systems in Greece, allthough they only provide warm household water. They do have their storage tanks above the collectors, though. Filling the tank with rocks isn’t doing any good, as for example granite has only ~75% of the heat storage capability of water. Not exactly in subject; I do recall there was a heat battery available for Saabs in early 80’s, effectively a thermos filled with phase changing salt and circulation pump. Good for keeping the car warm for an hour or so, meant for taxi use. Now, here’s an interesting idea concerning heating and phase change materials: http://www.doityourself…

  6. Luke says: September 22, 20113:39 am

    Harnessing the power of the sun? The whole thing sounds like science-fiction. If it does work, it probably wouldn’t produce enough heat for more than one person’s household use. Even then the cost to produce this kind of thing for the average consumer would be too much. No one would buy it.

    Anyway, why would people switch from gas or coal heating? It’s not like it’s doing any harm.

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