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Solar Water Heating Systems
What are Solar Water Heating Systems?
Solar water heating systems collect and generate heat energy from sunlight - converting sunlight into usable thermal energy - typically for producing hot water.
Solar water heating systems, also referred to as solar thermal water heating systems and solar thermal systems, are typically mounted on a south-facing roof, with no obstructions (trees, hills, buildings) that would cause shading over solar thermal systems, at any time of the day. Solar thermal systems are classified as low-, medium-, and high-temperature collectors:
collectors provide low-grade heat (less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit),
through either metallic or nonmetallic absorbers, and are used in such
applications as swimming pool heating and low-grade water and space heating.
collectors provide medium-grade heat (greater than 110 degrees Fahrenheit,
usually 140 degrees to 180 degrees Fahrenheit), either through glazed flat
plate collectors using
air or liquid as the heat transfer instrument, or concentrator collectors
that concentrate the heat of incident insolation to greater than "one
sun" and are mainly used for domestic hot water heating. Evacuated
tube collectors are also included in this category.
collectors are parabolic dish or trough collectors designed to operate at a
temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and are primarily used by
utilities and independent power producers to generate electricity for the
The solar thermal systems performance rating is an analytically-derived set of numbers representing the characteristic all-day energy output of the solar thermal systems under standard rating conditions, measured in Btu per square foot per day (Btu/ft2/day).
In 2009, the average solar thermal systems performance rating for low-temperature solar thermal systems (metallic and nonmetallic) was 1,239 Btu/ft2/day, medium-temperature (air) was 971 Btu/ft2/day, medium-temperature (integral collector storage/thermosiphon) was 913 Btu/ft2/day, medium-temperature (flat plate collectors) was 981 Btu/ft2/day, medium-temperature (evacuated tube collectors) was 973 Btu/ft2/day, medium-temperature (concentrator) was 2,196 Btu/ft2/day, and high-temperature (parabolic dish/trough) was 1,262 Btu/ft2/day.
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What is "Net Zero Energy?"
Net Zero Energy - when applied to a home or commercial building, simply means that they generate as much power and energy as they consume, when measured on an annual basis.
The U.S. Army now has a Net Zero Energy initiative to help reduce/eliminate America's use of foreign oil - particularly oil from muslim/middle-east countries - which saves the lives of our brave soldiers in the military.
Why "Net Zero Energy Matters
Americans spend more than $400 billion every year for electricity and natural gas for our homes and commercial buildings, consuming more than 70% of all the electricity used in the United States, which is about 40% of our nation's total energy bill. This also contributes almost 40% of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.
By standardizing on Net Zero Energy and upgrading existing commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy, the USA increases energy efficiency and reduces the purchases of energy from all sources, both foreign and domestic.
Net Zero Energy Protects your Financial Health
The average family spends $2,200 each year on the power and energy needed for their homes. A Net Zero Energy home can reduce this amount by 80% to 100%.
Net Zero Energy
Protects your Health and the Environment
Did you know that buildings (homes and commercial buildings) are responsible for:
almost 40% of the our country's greenhouse gas emissions
18% of the nitrogen oxides (emissions)
55% of the sulfur dioxide emissions.
These harmful emissions are generated from the combustion of fossil fuels, which cause acid rain, haze, smog and cause breathing/respiratory problems for thousands of people. By increasing the energy efficiency of our country's homes and commercial buildings, we reduce these harmful emissions while reducing our monthly utility and transportation expenses. Imagine, never again receiving a monthly bill from your electric power or natural gas utility company! Having a Net Zero Energy home or business can do that, or provide the option to "cut the cord" to the electric company in the future.
Every new Net Zero Energy home or commercial building helps our country reduce (energy-related) greenhouse gas emissions. There is a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels of 17% by 2020.
Net Zero Energy
Protects America's Economy and Leads to Energy Independence
The USA is still dependent on foreign oil. Each day, the USA shifts the wealth of Americans, to foreign countries and foreign jobs. With oil at $100/bbl, Americans send about $1.3 billion for the foreign oil we buy which adds up to almost $1/2 trillion every year. And that's also costing America thousands of jobs. Net Zero Energy will help America become energy independent, create thousands of jobs in the USA and reduce our dependence on foreign oil from insecure sources and from countries that do not agree with our country's leadership or policies.
Building (and upgrading) homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy with less reduces the problems relating to an old, inefficient electric power grid. Increased Net Zero Energy homes and commercial buildings also saves the need for building new central power plants running on fossil fuels, that are still highly inefficient at no more than 50% efficient.
What does a Net Zero Energy home or building look like?
Net Zero Energy homes and commercial buildings can look like any other residential home, hospital, school or commercial office building, they do NOT have to be ugly or modern in appearance to be Net Zero Energy!
And, your present home or commercial building can be updated to Net Zero Energy.
The U.S. Army Supports Net Zero Energy
The US Army announced (April 19, 2012) the locations for 8 new Army facilities that will be pilot Net Zero Energy installations. As part of the Army’s overall effort to conserve resources, net zero energy installations will consume only as much energy (as well as water - "Net Zero Water") - as they produce and eliminate solid waste to landfills.
The announcement initiates the programmatic environmental analysis and planning process for the Army’s Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Water Installation Strategy.
The U.S. Army has identified 6 new Net Zero Energy pilot installations that will be built as Net Zero Energy facilities plus 2 other installations that will be Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Water - all to be built and online by 2020.
The U.S. Army's definition of "net zero energy" is similar to that of the industry, which is a home, building or facility "generates as much energy on site as it uses, over the course of a year."
The Army’s pilot net zero energy installations are located at the following U.S. Army's installations:
Fort Detrick, Md.;
Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.;
Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands;
Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, Calif.;
Sierra Army Depot, Calif.;
West Point, N.Y.
Additionally, the Oregon Army National Guard volunteered to pilot a unique
as well as challenging Net Zero Energy Initiative, which includes all of their installations across the state.
Their strategy will be included in the environmental analysis.
What is a Net Zero Energy Building sm
A Net Zero Energy Building sm produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year.
A Net Zero Energy Building sm is very energy efficient. The remaining low energy needs are typically met with on-site renewable energy.
First of all, understand that there is no such thing as a "zero energy building!" EVERY building uses energy, or you may as well be in a cave!
The important considerations are,
1. How efficient is the building?
2. How much energy does the building use, and how efficiently is it used?
3. How much renewable energy and clean power is generated by the buildings' own onsite renewable energy system?
4. What are the utility company's prices for the excess power generated and sent to the grid?
5. How difficult is it to interconnect the renewable energy system of the building with the utility company's powerlines/electric grid?
At the heart of a Net Zero Energy Building sm is the idea that any building can meet its energy requirements from low-cost, locally available, nonpolluting, renewable sources, like Solar Trigenerationsm Energy Systems. Solar Trigenerationsm Energy Systems are the idea whose time has come, to make Net Zero Energy Building sm commonplace.
Solar Trigenerationsm Energy Systems Provide All of the Cooling, Heating & Power, for Any Size Building, with only the Energy of the Sun. Solar Trigenerationsm Energy Systems Provide Simultaneous Cooling, Heating & Power whether it is 12 Noon, or 12 Midnight, and WITHOUT having to rely on the electric grid!
The Department of Energy developed the Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) and is pursuing the goal of marketable Net Zero Energy Building through research and partnerships.
The DOE's CBI has developed tools and resources to help the commercial buildings industry improve energy efficiency at various levels of energy savings.
The founder of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) was first involved in Net Zero Energy buildings and Solar Trigeneration sm energy system in 2001 - 2002. This started with family-owned real estate developments in Northern and Southern California. This interest was accelerated when REI's founder was introduced to the President of a solar company in Los Angeles and their client, the Audubon Nature Center at Deb's Park (Los Angeles) that was planning to build a new 5,000 sf office and conference center. Except, the new building for the Audubon Nature Center was about 1/2 mile from the end of the power lines and a very costly extension of the power lines to their new facility forced them to consider a solar solution. When the Audubon Nature Center's new 5,000 sf office and conference center was completed in 2003, the facility not only featured the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - they were awarded one of the first Platinum LEED Awards by the USGBC - and the powerlines were still 1/2 mile away! To this day, 100% of the power and energy for the Audubon Nature Center's building is supplied by the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - whether at 12 noon, or 12 midnite. (The Audubon's facility also includes a battery energy storage system for back-up power generated by the Rooftop PV panels as well as a thermal energy storage system that stores the excess hot water generated by the evacuated tube collectors).
These early projects led to more client inquiries and engagements with real estate developers, architects and building owners in Southern California, Louisiana and Texas and the advent of a growing Net Zero Energy industry along with Solar Cogeneration sm & Solar Trigeneration sm energy systems. This culminated in a family-owned 200 (Net Zero Energy) home real estate development in Desert Hot Springs which has been approved but not yet constructed.
During this time, the REI's Founder became a volunteer and Advisor to the University of Texas' Solar Decathlon Competition. He coordinated the donation of the same solar thermal system used at the Audubon Nature Center's facility in Los Angeles, for UT's entry in the 2002 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, D.C. UT's entry in the Solar Decathlon Competition placed 1st in the domestic hot water competition that year (2002) and 4th overall, out of 20 universities that had entered.
In 2006, after Hurricane Kattrina devastated New Orleans, the REI was formed and several of the REI's board members and a Professor from the University of Texas School of Architecture formed a design team to enter the Brad Pitt/Global Green Rebuild New Orleans Competition. Our entry also focused on sustainable building solutions and materials as well as the Net Zero Energy concepts, incorporating once again, a Solar Trigeneration sm energy system.
Today, the REI "Flagship" has chartered the Renewable Energy Institute in Florida, with discussions to open REI state chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon.
The REI supports greater use of Net Zero Energy systems by architects, builders, homeowners and owners of commercial buildings. This includes "upgrading" homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy. The REI provides Net Zero Energy; advertising, business development, conferences, e-commerce, education, marketing, online marketing, public relations, renewable energy, sales and strategic marketing solutions for architects, builders, cities, colleges, HVAC contractors, Net Zero Energy developers, real estate developers and universities.
Net Zero Energy Market to Become $1.3 Trillion/year Industry by 2035
Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?
Products and Services Available
Architecture * Buildings of the Future * Domestic Hot Water * Energy Master Planning
Evacuated Tube Collectors * Flat Plate Collectors * Net Zero Energy * Mechanical Electrical Plumbing
Net Zero Energy Building Upgrades * Solar Cogeneration * Solar Thermal Systems * Solar Trigeneration
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