Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Enjoy Efficient Energy

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Enjoy Efficient Energy

Article excerpt

PASSIVE and active solar energy easily combine at South Solitary to clearly demonstrate how effectively a home on the NSW coast can be heated and cooled all year without using traditional central heating or air-conditioning.

The heart of the solar heat collection, storage, and distribution system for the house is a custom designed multi-input/output heat storage and exchange tank, which collects and stores solar heat energy from an oversized 90-tube solar collector array on the roof.

To back this up, the system accepts input from a low-pressure sub-system heated by a wetback slow combustion space heater.

Hot water is distributed to the output sub-circuits via separate heat exchangers feeding the domestic hot water circuit, a hydronic tube-in-slab heating system, and the outdoor lap pool.

The system is controlled by a pre-programmed control unit, which prioritises heat distribution subject to user demand.

Whenever the controller senses sunlight on the collectors, or a fire in the slow combustion fireplace, it activates sub-system feed pumps charging the central heat storage unit. Once water in the central unit reaches a specific temperature, the system will then heat the concrete floor slab via an extensive hydronic tubing network, while still keeping sufficient reserve heat to satisfy any possible domestic hot water requirements.

The solar collector generates approximately 27 kilowatts of energy per day on average, and the wetback slow combustion booster contributes a further 3.7 kilowatts per hour while burning, so the system has a large heating capacity reserve.

When sufficient energy has been stored to maintain both domestic hot water demands, and the slab heating has reached a preset temperature, any excess heat energy still being captured is diverted to a heat exchanger feeding heat to the swimming pool.

The house has 96 linear metres of hydronic piping installed in the concrete slab under the southern half of the house, which means all bedrooms and bathrooms are heated hydronically through the floor. Rooms are kept comfortably warm, and bathroom tiles are warm to walk on. …

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