Solar PSA: A South-Facing Window Is Already a Solar Collector

Solutions? I love solutions. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Here’s my latest Solar PSA on how a south-facing window is already a solar collector:

“Any window that sees direct sunlight is a solar collector. You can learn how to use that free energy to make your home more comfortable and secure. Caulk and seal the window against drafts. Install storm windows on the exterior, interior, or both. Cover the window at night with an insulating curtain to prevent conduction, convection, and radiative heat loss. A valence above the window will stop night-time drafts and reduce condensation. A sunny window can double as a greenhouse for starting seedlings or growing house plants. Expand the solar space below, above, or beside the window with a windowbox solar air or water heater. You can even design a living system to provide fresh vegetables and fish year round while producing space heat, cleaning the air, and reducing waste. A south-facing window is already a solar collector. Learn how to use it.”

I made the following four 30 second public service announcements for public access TV around 1991. They served as intro and outro to the videos of the Boston Area Solar Energy Association lectures I shot and cablecast on Cambridge Community TV for a few years. There is still a tape archive of all those talks by national and world class energy experts that could be digitized if anyone was interested.
30 seconds of solar history (based on the book A Golden Thread by John Perlin and Ken Butti and independent research) along with modern, working examples, often hidden in plain sight.
Energy sources broken down by btu (though I’m not quite sure my math is correct).

These two trick questions were collaborations with the polymathic Ed Hill.

I made another set of 15 second spots back in the late 1970s and early 1980s for the Urban Solar Energy Association, the precursor of BASEA which hosted workshops and solar barnraisings as well as monthly lectures and talks. Those PSAs went to the local TV stations and, if memory serves, two channels ran them at least once. There may even be a 2 inch tape somewhere in my archives. That was the first south-facing window is already a solar collector PSA. The others were “A south-facing porch can be a sunspace or greenhouse. Learn how to use it at the Urban Solar Energy Association.

Recently, I put all I know about Simple Solar online in eight video installments that add up to about a half hour:

Al Gore is doing 24 hours of Climate Reality on Current TV on September 14 and 15. I wonder how many minutes will be devoted to solutions rather than describing the problem and persuading the unconvinced. An inconvenient truth about “An Inconvenient Truth” is that it was very light in the solutions department.

I say Solar IS Civil Defense. At least that level of solar is affordable, available, and practical today whatever Climate Reality you inhabit.

Recommended by petr, stomv.


One Comment . Leave a comment below.
  1. Just learn when to open it, and when to cover it

    Americans have by and large forgotten how to open windows in the evening to bring in cool drafts in the summer, and then draw the shades in the morning to prevent solar gain. Instead, we just run our ACs more.

    * New England hasn’t forgotten to the same extent, since lots of New Englanders still don’t have AC…

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