Simple, Inexpensive Solar Heat Collector
The Green Squared Building Association constructed a simple solar heat collector for the River Valley School District, using wood from their School Forest. Commercially made panels are now available using the same ideas, but cost thousands of dollars.
Dave Shinke (and others) constructs a simple 8 inch deep box using pine lumber from a dead tree that was salvaged in the River Valley School Forest that morning. A space blanket/aluminum foil layer on the back side will reflect radiant heat back into the collector. The three 2X4s he is adding now will support the metal roofing in the middle of the box.
Recycled metal roofing is attached to the top of the 2X4s.
Having an air space on each side of the metal layer captures more of the available heat than just harvesting from the top side of a collector surface.
Painting the metal black will cause the layer to absorb more of the sun's energy.
Superintendent Jamie Benson (left), Ruth McWilliams (center, was a featured speaker at this event. She recently retired from the US Forest Service and is a forest owner in New York.), smiling Badger fan (right).
A layer of greenhouse poly film is added to the top of the box, and the collector is hoisted into position to face the sun.
Air enters at the bottom opening. The black metal will heat up about 200 degrees in direct sunlight. Air is heated and rises by convection up both sides of the metal, exiting out the top of the box. A fan could be used to accelerate the air flow and transport the heated air to an application like a lumber kiln. This collector could be made any size.
Simple, inexpensive, adaptable.