Solar homes are a great way of tapping solar energy. The efficiency of solar homes is not only determined by the amount of heat entering the home but it is also determined by the amount leaving the structure. Therefore for optimizing there is a need to increase the amount entering and decrease the amount of heat leaving the house.
Glazing is an important means of achieving the above purpose. Not only does it help in increasing the heat levels in the house in winters but they also provide a shielding to the heat present inside so as to keep the level up. In summers gazing helps in reflecting the hot solar radiations which rises up the temperature of the solar home.
Therefore using proper glazing on the solar homes’ windows is essential for generating optimum solar power from the solar homes. Various options should be considered and local climate conditions be checked before implementing them in the solar home.
Importance of Glazing in Solar Home
Importance of glazing is two-fold – Glazing of windows is important for controlling the temperature level in the home as well as increasing the efficiency of the passive solar homes.
Optimum absorption on south windows – Glazing helps in absorbing as much winter solar energy as possible. Solar homes are preferred to have black color in the south side. This Therefore glazing also helps in improving the efficiency of the solar homes by attracting more solar power in winters.
Makes the environment cooler – A different type of glazing is recommended in the east-west side of the solar home. The white colored east-west walls are majorly affected by the summer sun. Thus glazing helps in reducing heat levels thereby adding comfort. By reflecting solar radiations it makes the environment cooler.
Savings in heating and cooling costs – Glazing helps in saving the heating and cooling costs of the home as it supports the working of the solar home. It decreases the utility costs substantially. Proper choices and implementation can increase the efficiency of the solar home as well as make the climate much more user friendly.
Glazing : Optimization Options
South facing should have low emissivity double glazed glass or other anti-reflective glass so that maximum heat can be absorbed rather than emitted.
East and West facing glasses should have reflective glasses so that most heat can be emitted out. Though they do reduce the performance of the solar home they are quintessential for keeping the home cooler
Types of Glazing
Various types of glazing are available for implementation in the solar homes. According to the local climate and the direction in which it is being implemented, different types are thus used for the house.
Some widely used glazing are
- Single glazing – Single glazing has only one layer of glass through which heat can flow in or out of the home. They are used only for reflective purposes on the east-west side of the solar home. For such purposes, Reflective single glaze glasses are used.
- Double glazing – These types of glazing are used to trap more heat. They also help in reducing the noise levels. Double glazing uses two separate glass layers with some space being left between them.
- High performance glazing – These glazes are energy efficient and productive types of glazes which can be used more generally than the other two types of glazing. These contain two to three layers of glass panes normally though the number may differ. These types of glazes are highly recommended for normal usage in active solar homes or passive homes in general.
Limitations of Glazing in Solar Home
Glazing is generally low on aesthetic value of the house. Also glazing reduces the amount of light passing through the window making the house darker than usual.
For south facing windows natural vegetation or shading is preferred over glazing windows as the performance of the solar homes is reduced.
Moisture trapping inside the windows is another issue that glazing has to deal with. Currently for most windows moisture renders the glazing useless and the whole system has to be changed.
Maintenance of the windows is another issue that arises from the glazing. If not implemented properly, glazing can be of low beneficial value.
Summing it all up..
Glazing is important for solar homes as their applications are effective and adds up to the benefits of the solar homes. Not only are they easy to implement and use, they are also present in variety. Thereby there are options available for the user to implement. Glazing is also flexible to implement. If not used at the time of construction they can be later used perfectly.
Glazing is therefore beneficial and recommended for implementation in solar homes due to the various benefits it provides and due to the ease of implementation.