Passive Solar Thermal Building Design: Solar Power for Heating

Have you ever watched one of those TV shows that have featured a home that has all the essentials of living a comfortable life and all of a sudden you think of electric bills? You wonder and ask how they are able to deal with costs of living in such an ostentatious house. Then the owner reveals that the whole house is energy efficient. It might be too good to be true for some but it is now becoming a trend in the real estate and architectural industry. The most popular green energy used is solar energy. The Chinese and the Greeks were the first one who predisposed the use of sunlight in urban development methods. From then on, the architectural world has been working with the passive solar building design in order to design the perfect home for people depending on location and weather factors.

One of the common things that homes in countries that experience winter have in common is a heater. A heater is considered one of the necessities during the cold months to keep living spaces warm. Some types of heaters use natural gas or propane but today most of the heaters use electricity. Since the heater is used for weeks or even months for the whole duration of the winter, the demand for electricity is at its peak. Households and even businesses tend to have high electric bills to pay. However, the passive solar thermal building design does not have to deal with such high electric costs for heating. It employs the strategic use of solar energy.

The passive solar building design works with collecting, keeping and dispensing heat all throughout the house through the use of the windows, walls and floors. The energy distributed in the form of heat during the winter. The design includes and efficient system which discard solar heat during the summer season. However, unlike the active design, the passive solar building design does not use any mechanical systems in order to make the heat circulate inside the house. In order to harness the solar energy in order to provide heating to the living space, another law in Physics which states that heat moves from a hot to cold area. An example of this is a heated floor warms up the whole room.

Aside from relying on the law of physics, the passive solar building design also banks on the orientation, design and fixtures of the house. Houses that are built in this design are positioned with an angle of 30 degrees to the south. The homes that are designed under such do not have many corners. Having too many corners will not be an effective design in harnessing solar power. The fixtures, such as the windows also have a great impact on the whole design.

The overhangs present at the windows facing the south allow the sun in during the winter and out during summer. During the summer, the sun angles at 66.5 degrees and as a result the eaves installed will protect the windows. When the windows are protected, there is minimal heat gain from the sun. This keeps the home from too much heat. On the other hand, during the winter, the sun angles at 19.5 degrees which results in maximum heat gain because it reaches the living areas. The heat gain during the winter is important in keeping the home warm despite the cold temperatures.

The energy in the form of the heat from the sun travels from the exterior of the passive solar thermal building designed house to the interior. Inside the house there are four processes that take place in order to collect, store and distribute the heat. One of these is conduction of heat. Heat conduction is described to be heat moving from one molecule to another. Convection is another process that takes place inside the house; it is a process of heat transfer which is applied to gas and liquid mediums. The third process is radiation which can be observed when the sunlight strikes a shiny floor and reflects such light. The last process is storing of the heat.

In the passive solar thermal building design, storing the heat is vital. In order to keep the heat, materials with the characteristic of thermal capacitance are used all throughout the house. Thermal capacitance is defined to be the capability to store heat. Materials that have very good thermal capacitance have great thermal mass. An example of a material that has the characteristic of thermal capacitance is a concrete block. It is worth-noting that the prevention of heat loss is vital in the design. In order to keep the heat from escaping; insulation, draught sealing, airlocks and glazing are important.

During the winter, 25-35 per cent of heat loss is caused by ceilings and roof spaces. To prevent the heat from escaping, the insulation of the roof should be placed next to it. The other 10 -20 per cent of heat loss is caused by floors. Timber floors need insulation underneath, while concrete slabs need insulation at the sides. Another 15-25 per cent of heat loss is due to absence of insulation of walls. As a solution to this, alternative wall construction systems can be made in order to increase the insulation.

Draught sealing is another factor that must not be taken for granted for air leakage leads to heat loss as well. It is important to use air-tight construction particularizing for wall to ceiling and wall to floor seams. The use of draught-proofing strips is also recommended for windows and doors. Home owners can also opt for well-made airtight windows and doors to prevent heat from moving from the inside to the outside. Glazing is another key factor in preventing heat loss. Glazing is an important in keeping the envelope of the building; it transfers radiant and conducted heat. Over-glazing is not good in the passive solar thermal building design. There must be a balance between the heat gain during the day time and night time. If glazing is not properly done, it might decrease the energy-efficiency.

Lastly, air locks are essential in cold climates. It can be placed in laundry, mud, and garage rooms in order to keep its use efficient. In order to keep the efficiency of air locks, there are a few simple tips that can be followed. One of the tips is to have enough space between two doors. Another would be to avoid sliding doors in air lock spaces because they are hard to seal and they are usually left open. It is also wise to use door swings so that the door closes on its own when left open.

It is a popular design which is being adapted all over the world and it has proven to be efficient in reducing energy costs and maintenance while getting the people benefit from the comforts. Aside from saving on costs, the passive solar building design requires very little maintenance. It helps in keeping living spaces warm or cool. It is said to take advantage of the natural energy characteristics of materials and air which is produced through sun exposure.

This is how the green energy of solar power can be used and maximized in the house. It is a cheap way to harness the energy in the form of heat throughout the house. Unlike the active design, the passive solar thermal building design is cheaper for it does not use any mechanical systems to collect the solar energy. Instead of using heaters during the cold or winter season; the orientation, fixtures and house materials can create the perfect warm comfortable atmosphere. It does not only help save in the costs but it also helps the environment. The passive solar thermal building design may look ostentatious but it is actually a home, made comfortable by green energy.

Bacteria Saves The World Via Acidogenesis

When the microscope was invented we always feared contracting diseases from deadly bacteria. But now its a whole different matter; is it time for the Bacteria to redeem itself and proclaim that hey, “I’m the missing piece to the waste and energy problem you’ve been having”. In this article we aim to look at bacteria in a new light, as a friend not foe.

What is Anaerobic Digestion?

Let us dissect what goes in Acidogenesis but first we need to define the meaning of Acidogenesis and the contribution of Anaerobic bacteria in the process so according to Webster’s dictionary Acidogenesis its defined as the second stage in the four stages of anaerobic digestion and A biological reaction where simple monomers are converted into volatile fatty acids let me put it in a more simple way monomer means a atom or a small molecule that may bind chemically to other monomers basically it changes the structure of the atom to fatty acids this would in turn aid in the process for the next stage in making methane which is a natural gas made from waste of animals and other waste from landfills. Before we tackle the different stages, we should focus on Acidogenesis for us to be able understand how the process works from a simple stand point.  I will show you a basic illustration.

 

If you check out the Illustration below you will see that in Acidogenesis monomers are converted  to Sugars, Fatty acids and Amino acids. Sugars are simple carbohydrates while Fatty acids are  a type of  carboxylic acid, meaning acids that are derived from carbohydrates and lastly Amino acids are from a amine group a type of carboxylic acid as well.

 

Four Stages of Acidogenesis
1. Hydrolysis-A chemical reaction where particulates are solubilized and large polymers converted into simpler monomers.

2. Acetogenesis- A biological reaction where volatile fatty acids are converted into acetic acid, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen.

3. Acetogenesis- A biological reaction where volatile fatty acids are converted into acetic acid, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen.

4. Methanogenesis- A biological reaction where acetates are converted into methane and carbon dioxide, while hydrogen is consumed.

 

The Process of  Anaerobic Digestion

In conclusion, we should thank bacteria in aiding us in  finding  profitable means of changing our waste problems into money. Anyways its part of nature to recycle and without the presence of  bacteria methane wont be existing  as a biodegradable gas that we use to convert to Green energy.

The Anerobic Digestion Process: how it works and why it helps

While the term Anaerobic Digestion Process may sound fangled and new the process has actually been around since the beginning of the 19th century but is just now regaining popularity in industry. The process of anaerobic digestion is a process in which the organic matter produced from plant and animal waste are converted into more useful products such as energy.  The best thing about the process of anaerobic digestion is that the source fuels used can be almost any biodegradable materials such as garden waste, food leftovers, toilet paper, animal waste or even raw sewage.  The process requires is truly a renewable energy source with the potential of providing myriad long term benefits for the environment and the economy.
The Process of  anaerobic digestion provides a number of benefits that can be harnessed for use both in the home and by industry. These benefits include the reduction of methane emissions, a smaller carbon footprint, replacement of fossil fules, and a huge reduction of waste materials.  The process can reduce cost and keep our landfills and waterways cleaner.

The Anerobic Digestion Process: in our body

The process is similar to our own digestive process. Our digestive system utilizes  bacterial microbes in the absence of oxygen to  break down the food we eat we eat in order to provide the nutrients and fuel we need to live.  Humans and animals are not machines and are relatively inefficient at the process. Because of this there is still a lot of untapped energy in our waste.  Industrial digesters are able to recycle our waste and get all of the energy out of our byproducts.

The Anerobic Digestion Process: in industry

An industrial anaerobic digester utilizes a different strain of bacterial microbes that thrive at much higher temperatures.   These microbes are very efficient at breaking down our sewage, discarded food,  old paper and yard waste  and turning it into biogas and nutrient rich compost.  Today’s  commercial and municipal   anaerobic digestion facilities are able to process almost all  agricultural and  municipal organics into  biogas that is an excellent  substitute for fossil natural gas as well as produce  nutrient rich compost capable of restoring  health and overall productivity to soil. What’s more, the process takes place at such a high temperatures that the pathogens associated with many biodegradable waste materials are removed from the environment.
The anaerobic digestion process involves a series of steps whereby microorganisms are added to slurry of biodegradables.  Specifically,  acid forming bacteria (acetogens) and methane forming (archaea or methanogens) are added in the  absence of oxygen (anaerobic) to accelerate the digestion process. During the digestion process biodegradables are rapidly converted into intermediate molecules such as acetic acids, sugars, hydrogen’. These intermediates are then converted into biogas which can in turn be utilized as a fuel for energy production.
This process has the ability to recycle organic waste into fuel  and responsibly and safely  introduce it back into the environment in the form of compost.   The  Anerobic Digestion Process is an environmentally friendly and  cost effective alternative to incinerating or dumping our sewage  and organic waste into our waterways and  landfills.

Plastic to Oil Conversion- The Art of Renewable Energy

From a simple observation a now renowned Japanese inventor named Akinori Ito has produced a one of a kind technology that allows us to convert plastic into oil.

The growing cause of plastic pollution has affected not only living organisms but the majority of the planet. It has taken up too much space and accumulates at a very rapid pace. With the population constantly growing and the demand for plastic consumption tops, more and more evidence of climate change us not only seen but experienced as well.

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The general public is not aware that most of the plastic materials that they use us made up of 98% petroleum products that is converted back into oil. Oil that is extracted from used plastics is used as an alternative for fossil fuel energy generation, power for our cars and other means of transportation. With millions of plastic waste produced every year, most of it is floating in the great Pacific Gyre that kills albatross, seagulls and marine life by indigestion and suffocation. Imagine saving money if you could convert these plastic materials into alternative oil at the same time saving the environment?

How is it achieved?

The conversion of plastic to oil involves a process called thermal degradation wherein extreme heat is applied to plastic which is feed stock to the innovation made by Mr. Ito. The gas that is produced from this process do not escape the chamber, it is redirected into a cylinder filled with water. Water and gas then co-mingles thus producing alternative oil derived from plastic. The oil is then separated from the water residue.

Depending on the feedstock, plastic may produce heavy oil, gasoline, kerosene and diesel. All these types of oil are the used for our cars, energy generating turbines and heaters for our homes. With millions of tons of plastics produced, millions of tons of oil are just sitting in our sanitary landfills waiting to be found. Buried treasures are found in places and forms that you would never think of it possess. The art of renewable energy just keeps on expanding. Companies are starting to invest in the technology of Mr. Ito to help their cities lessen the growing pile of plastic waste.

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