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FREE for 1 last update 2020/05/29 K-12 standards-aligned STEMFREE K-12 standards-aligned STEM

curriculum for educators everywhere!

Find more at TeachEngineering.org.

Quick Look

Grade the 1 last update 2020/05/29 Level: 9 (9-11) Grade Level: 9 (9-11)

Time Required: 15 minutes

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Lesson Dependency: None

Subject Areas: Physical Science, Physics

Quick Look

Partial Design Process These resources engage students in some of the steps in the engineering design process, but do not have them complete the full process. While some of these resources may focus heavily on the brainstorm and design steps, others may emphasize the testing and analysis phases.

Grade Level:
9 (9-11)
Lessons in this Unit:
1 2 3 4 5
Time Required:
15 minutes
Lesson Dependency
Lesson dependency indicates that this lesson relies upon the contents of the TeachEngineering document(s) listed.
:
None
Subject Areas:
Physical Science
Physics

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Educators Share Experiences

Students learn about passive solar design for buildings
copyright
Copyright © https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Solar_energy#/media/File:Technische_Universit%C3%A4t_Darmstadt_-_Solar_Decathlon_2007.jpg

Summary

Students are introduced to passive solar design for buildings — an approach that uses the sun''s energy, the geographical climate, and the properties of different materials to heat and cool buildings. It includes a variety of methods that use no human-made energy to operate and can reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling by considerable amounts.

If you have ever spent some time in the sun on a hot day, you know that the sun has an incredible ability to heat things up. Think of how hot the inside of a car gets after it has been in the sun for awhile. Tapping the sun''s why we consider solar energy a "" source of energy.

The simplest method of passive solar heating is sunlight shining through windows. Since we know that the sun rises higher in the sky during the summer than in the winter, engineers and architects design buildings that allow sunlight through the windows during the winter months when the building needs heating, but block the sunlight during the summer to help keep the building cool (see Figure 1). Students can apply their own creative thinking to design, build and test model houses using methods of passive solar heating including insulation, window placement, thermal mass, colors, and site orientation with the associated activity Zero-Energy Housing.


Figure 1. Working together, the five elements of passive solar design constitute a complete and successful passive solar home design: aperture/collector (south-facing windows), absorber ([usually] hard and dark surface of wall or floor material), thermal mass (actual material that retains and stores heat), distribution (circulation of heat through natural conduction, convection and radiation) and control (roof overhangs, blinds, awnings, shade trees). Notice the differing angles of the sun between winter and summer.
copyright
Copyright © Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/designing_remodeling/index.cfm/mytopic=10270

After sunset, have you ever felt the warmth from a big rock or a concrete bench that has been in the sun all day? The rock and the bench absorbed and stored the heat, and released it slowly. Working in the same way, a key passive solar technique is for the radiant heat of sunlight that enters a building to be absorbed by a thermal mass inside the structure. A thermal mass might be a big wall or area of floor that is composed of a construction material that is able to absorb large amounts of heat, such as concrete, brick, tiles or even water. As the sun sets and the air temperature lowers, the thermal mass slowly releases the heat it gathered all day to help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature through the night. In the summer, the same thermal mass can draw warmth from the surrounding air to cool a space. In all seasons, the ability of thermal mass to store heat helps to maintain a uniform temperature.

Working with these ideas, the most successful human-engineered product using the sun'' geographical location and orientation play important roles. For example, to take advantage of passive solar heating and cooling, a building in the US must be designed so its windows and main living spaces are located on the south side of the house. That way, the windows that face the sun can heat up the spaces people are in more often. Windows located on the north side do not let in any direct sunlight and allow more heat to escape than a solid wall. This is one reason that building orientation is important. Geographical location must be considered because different places have different climates. In some regions, clouds block the sun more often than not, so they would not be good locations to rely on the sun for heating. If a region''s energy and material properties for heating and cooling of interior spaces. Why is passive solar design becoming more popular and more likely to be incorporated into our buildings and houses? (Answer: Due to the increasing cost of energy and the growing concern for global climate change.) Engineers often use passive solar design to compliment conventional methods of heating and cooling in order to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing comfort.

What are the most important aspects of passive solar design? (Answers: Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, ventilation and circulation, angle and direction of the sun, surface colors, and geographical location). Engineers who work with passive solar design must know about these subjects, and how to apply them in creative ways to maximize the benefits of passive solar design, while making structures that are aesthetically pleasing.

(Conduct additional lesson summary assessment activities as described in the Assessment section.)

Vocabulary/Definitions

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for civil engineer: A person who designs the structures of our human-built environment (including buildings, airports, skyscrapers, harbors, dams, roads, bridges, water systems) or supervises their construction or maintenance.

HVAC: Acronym that stands for "heating, ventilating, and air conditioning."

passive solar the 1 last update 2020/05/29 design:passive solar design: Using the sun's energy, the geographical climate, and the properties of different materials to heat and cool buildings.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for thermal mass: Construction material incorporated into passive solar design because of its ability to absorb, store and distribute large amounts of heat. Possible materials include floors and walls made of concrete, tile, brick, masonry, stone, soil and water.

watt: The SI unit of measurement for power. (SI = international system of units)

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Assessment

Pre-Lesson Assessment

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Brainstorming: As a class, have students engage in open discussion to brainstorm the definition for passive solar design. Remind students that in brainstorming, no idea or suggestion is "" Respectfully listen to all ideas. Take an uncritical position, encourage wild ideas and discourage criticism of ideas. Write their ideas on the board.

Post-Introduction Assessment

Brainstorming Revisited: Have the class revisit the definition(s) of passive solar design that they brainstormed before the lesson began. Would they make any modifications?

Lesson Summary Assessment

Where Have You Seen It?: Divide the class into small groups and ask teams to list all the examples of passive solar heating that they have encountered and where. (Possible examples: Homes, schools, stores, offices, hospitals, public for 1 last update 2020/05/29 buildings, museums.) Which methods did they notice were effective? Which were not?Where Have You Seen It?: Divide the class into small groups and ask teams to list all the examples of passive solar heating that they have encountered and where. (Possible examples: Homes, schools, stores, offices, hospitals, public buildings, museums.) Which methods did they notice were effective? Which were not?

Group Discussion: Have students discuss what passive solar design techniques they would use in their own home and why.

Lesson Extension Activities

Group Research: Divide the class into smaller groups to conduct Internet searches on different types and aspects of passive solar design. Have students pick their favorite ones and present them to the class. Note: Not all techniques can be found under the search term "" so make sure students understand the definition enough to be able to broaden their search. Possible topics: solar orientation, overhangs, awnings, shading, insulation, air sealing, window location and placement, operable windows, glazing type, clerestory windows, cross ventilation, thermal storage wall systems, roof pond systems, material color, thermal chimney, open floor plan, sunroom, windbreaks, wing walls, etc. Remember that passive solar includes design elements and techniques for summer comfort, not just for winter heating.

Another way to save electricity by using the sun''s website at http://solarwall.com/en/products/solarwall-video-ekostv.php

References

Five Elements of Passive Solar Home Design, Your Home, Energy Savers. Last updated March 24, 2009. Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy. Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/designing_remodeling/index.cfm/mytopic=10270

Passive Solar Design. Choices the 1 last update 2020/05/29 for the Home Construction, Consumer Energy Center, California Energy Commission. Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/construction/solardesign/index.htmlPassive Solar Design. Choices for the Home Construction, Consumer Energy Center, California Energy Commission. Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/construction/solardesign/index.html

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Passive Solar Design. Sustainable Sources. (Provides a great introduction to solar design, including "" and many diagrams that illustrate thermal storage, ventilation and other techniques) Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.greenbuilder.com/sourcebook/PassiveSol.html

Passive Solar Design – Thermal Mass. Consumer Energy Center, California Energy Commission. Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/construction/solardesign/thermal.html

SolarWall – Specializing in solar heating (solar air heating and ventilation), solar agriculture. Conserval Engineering Inc. Accessed October 22, 2009. http://www.solarwall.com

Copyright

© 2008 by Regents of the University of Colorado.

Contributors

Jonathan MacNeil; Malinda Schaefer Zarske; Denise W. Carlson

Supporting Program

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Acknowledgements

The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0338326. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: April 11, 2020

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Free K-12 standards-aligned STEM curriculum for educators everywhere.
Find more at TeachEngineering.org