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Turning hot air into energy savings
Date:6/16/2011

arness solar thermal heat from a rooftop solar heat collector and/or heated air from the attic. The heated air will be diverted through a newly constructed closet, which will be concealed in what appears to be a fireplace and chimney when viewed from the outside. The closet would be 30 inches deep and 7 feet wide and high.

"We figured we could take advantage of what is normally a problem hot air in the attic and turn it into an asset," Ribeiro said.

The developer has asked that in this case the closet be designed to resemble a fireplace and chimney, but the closet also could be configured into an existing two-car garage, the students said.

The heated air can also be directed through air ducts for space heating applications in the house as needed to reduce electric and natural gas heating costs during cooler months.

The students' system saves two important things: money and energy.

Energy consumption from clothes dryers make up about 16 percent of energy demands in the residential sector.

The $1,500 upfront cost of the solar thermal closet exceeds the $600 average upfront cost of a dryer, but the closet doesn't require the maintenance a dryer needs and its use doesn't drive up an electricity bill. Because of that, the students estimate a homeowner using the closet and not a clothes dryer would save nearly $6,500 in a 20-year period.

In addition, the heated humid air from the solar thermal closet can be used as a substitute for a space heater and humidifier. Taking this into account, the students calculate a homeowner could save another nearly $8,700 over 20 years.

Few alternatives to clothes dryers exist. The most common is line drying clothing. But, it has limitations. Optimal weather conditions ample sun, limited rain and relatively low humidity are needed. Also, residents governed by a homeowner's association are typically not allowed to use a clothes drying line.

Victory Garden
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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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