We live in a great time, with many advances and opportunities available for using solar energy and other renewable sources in our daily lives. These innovations have dramatically improved everyone’s ability to augment, or to fully meet, their home power, heating and water requirements. Whether you are looking for solutions to provide electrical energy, create water, or even to heat your home, the innovations available today are truly inspiring. One area of development that has made great strides in recent years is the Solar Air Heater, and companies like ÉcoSolaris are at the forefront of developing this fantastic technology, and making it available to consumers at reasonable cost.
Solar Air Heater
Before we get too far into highlighting the innovative solutions provided by ÉcoSolaris, it will be helpful to provide a brief overview of exactly what solar air heating is, and how it works in the most basic terms.
The concept of creating heat from solar panels is not unique to modern times, though the design and efficiency of the systems has varied significantly, and cost-effective and efficient systems that are ‘consumer ready’ have generally been more of an obscure concept until recently.
In simplest terms, a solar air heating system is basically any design that absorbs the sun’s energy, and converts it to be used to heat the air. These systems are sometimes referred to as Solar Air Collectors, though the terminology is generally interchangeable, and the basic principles remain the same.
There are different designs and materials used for solar air collectors/heaters, and each offers a varying degree of practicality and efficiency. Within the more technical realm of solar thermal sciences, they are often referred to as either Non-conentrating (“Flat Plate”), and Concentrating collectors. The difference between the two being that one is essentially a ‘flat plate’ that is heated by the sun, which in turn heats the connected tubes of heat transfer solution (usually air or liquid). The alternative ‘Concentrating Collector’ uses a much larger solar absorption area, which refocuses the energy to a single point of concentration to create much higher temperatures that are then similarly transferred into transfer tubes of air or liquid.
The most common form of solar collector used for heating of air and water is the Flat Plate Concentrator, and the incredibly innovative and inspired engineers and designers at ÉcoSolaris have taken this technology to new levels, making it both practical and affordable for home use. ÉcoSolaris is a Canadian company that has hewn the technology and engineering of solar thermal heating to create some really innovative solutions. Given the relatively cold climates and temperatures that their systems have been designed in, it is reasonable to state that these solutions are intended as genuinely practical and useful heating solutions.
Their Chinook solar air heater is an inventive new product design that works to provide heat to your home using only the energy provided by the sun. The system uses combined solar thermal and photovoltaic panels to provide heating, and is entirely autonomous of any additional inputs or requirements. A single Chinook panel can provide heat for up to 1000 ft2, even on a freezing day, as long as the sun is shining. The basic functioning of the system is ingenious, but straightforward. The system is heated by the sun, until the solar thermal panels have produced 1500w of energy, at which time, the connected photovoltaic panels activate to turn on the internal fan system that then blows and circulates warm air into the space to be heated. It is a simple process, but incredibly effective.
One of the great things about this Chinook system is its ability to operate even on the coldest of days, as long as the sun is shining, and provides sufficient heat to add warmth and comfort to your home, garage, or whatever area you have chosen. Add to this the fact that the system is very easy to install, being placed on any surface that faces the sun, means that it can be added without the addition of complex mounting systems. That said, given the nature of solar usage in general, it is always advantageous to mount these systems on a vertical surface (outer wall etc.), as this will reduce the need to clear them of snow and/or other debris that may reduce their performance.
The Chinook has proven incredibly popular for use in heating smaller homes, tiny houses, greenhouses and other areas, and the installation of these devices is incredibly easy. For a great overview of the solutions provided by EcoSolaris, as well as the technology and engineering involved in the process of creating solar air heaters, they have put together a great video that highlights their efforts.
We are always intrigued by new and inspired ideas that assist all of us, and offer innovative solutions to living a more simple life. Solutions like those provided by ÉcoSolaris, which offer eco-friendly options to powering and heating your home are exactly the types of innovations we are encouraged by. The Chinook Solar Air Heater from ÉcoSolaris is exactly one of those types of solutions, which is both affordable and practical, and provides consumers the opportunity to reduce their reliance on costly gas and electric heating options, while further reducing the environmental impacts that such systems create.
For some other great articles on solar and other innovative home energy solutions, check out our in-depth article and video on Homebiogas, and learn more about this innovative solution for the creation of biogas for use in cooking and home heating. Also be sure to check out all of our articles on home power and heating systems and the various inspirations that we’ve highlighted at TAG Level.
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