Review and analysis of solar thermal facades

Richard O'Hegarty, Oliver Kinnane, Sarah J. McCormack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Harnessing solar energy to provide for the thermal needs of buildings is one of the most promising solutions to the global energy issue. Exploiting the additional surface area provided by the building’s façade can significantly increase the solar energy output. Developing a range of integrated and adaptable products that do not significantly affect the building’s aesthetics is vital to enabling the building integrated solar thermal market to expand and prosper. This work reviews and evaluates solar thermal facades in terms of the standard collector type, which they are based on, and their component make-up. Daily efficiency models are presented, based on a combination of the Hottel Whillier Bliss model and finite element simulation. Novel and market available solar thermal systems are also reviewed and evaluated using standard evaluation methods, based on experimentally determined parameters ISO 9806. Solar thermal collectors integrated directly into the facade benefit from the additional wall insulation at the back; displaying higher efficiencies then an identical collector offset from the facade. Unglazed solar thermal facades with high capacitance absorbers (e.g. concrete) experience a shift in peak maximum energy yield and display a lower sensitivity to ambient conditions than the traditional metallic based unglazed collectors. Glazed solar thermal facades, used for high temperature applications (domestic hot water), result in overheating of the building’s interior which can be reduced significantly through the inclusion of high quality wall insulation. For low temperature applications (preheating systems), the cheaper unglazed systems offer the most economic solution. The inclusion of brighter colour for the glazing and darker colour for the absorber shows the lowest efficiency reductions (<4%). Novel solar thermal façade solutions include solar collectors integrated into balcony rails, shading devices, louvers, windows or gutters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-422
JournalSolar Energy
Volume135
Early online date15 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

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