A solar heating system is not a new concept. But, a solar heating system that is capable of storing the summer heat for winter use sure is. A new house in a subdivision at Ravensbourne, Dunedin is flaunting a prototype of a system that not only heats the house in bright sunny days, but also stores the solar energy for future use.
The Ravensbourne house has an insulated core just under the concrete pad of the ground floor. Heat collected from solar panels on the roof will be stored in the 1.5m-deep heat core of dirt, insulated by polystyrene and used to keep the house at a minimum of 18 C°. The system would be capable of reaching up to 80 C°.
On days when the weather is bad, core heat could be transferred to the concrete pad to heat the house. The system is expected to be used with other energy efficient features, like thicker exterior walls and high-quality double-glazing, resulting in an energy-efficient home with a minimum carbon footprint. Both the system and the house would cost some $25,000, including nearly $10,000 worth of solar panels.