Solar for heating mass

timsjstimsjs Registered Users Posts: 6
Everyone on this forum has been very helpful and I really appreciate it. I write an alternative energy blog and like hearing from "live" people. It's very credible to me and I'm able to pass some of this information along to my readers.

I recently talked with a friend living in a geodesic dome home. One of the areas he pointed out in his home was a trombe wall. I've heard a couple of explanations but each description of it's principle of operation is different. I've got an idea but can anyone explain (in easy to understand talk) how a trombe wall works or where to go to find a simple answer?


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Solar for heating mass

    Wiki For Trombe Wall?

    Home Power Magazine has many passive solar articles in it too... If you subscribe, I believe you can look up and download pass issues/articles.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar for heating mass

    Passive ( and active solar) heating systems rely on transferring heat into some medium. In it's simplest form, south facing window that lets the sun in allows the interior of the house to warm up. Increasing the thermal mass of what the sun is shining on allows more energy to be absorbed per degree of temperature rise.

    All a trombe wall is, is a massive wall (usually concrete or other masonry) that has glass in front of it. The idea is the sun shines through the glass all day, warming the mass. The mass then gives the heat back to the house when the sun goes down, (assuming that the heat doesn't just escape out the glass.

    Differing materials have different thermal mass per unit of volume. You can tell intuitively that a cubic meter of air will hold less heat than the same cubic meter of water, (or concrete or oil etc).

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