Thermosyphoning Air Panel (or Solar Chimney)

This page provides plans for a simple thermosyphoning air collector.  The diagram shows how the collector operates -- very simple.  Cool air from the living space enters the collector space through the lower vent.  As it is heated by the sun, it rises (warm air being lighter), and exits the upper vent back into the living space.  No blowers, wiring, ducts, or controllers.


The characteristics of the Thermosyphoning Air Collector as compared to a direct gain window:

These are very cost effective energy collectors.  For example, a PV panel of the same size would cost  5 to 10 times more, and produce about one fifth as much energy!  Depending on the materials used, and how good a scrounger you are, the payback period will usually be a year or two at 2006 fuel prices.


The collectors can be used in new construction, or as a retrofit. 


These plans are excerpted from the book "Passive Solar Energy" by Bruce Anderson and Malcolm Wells.  The full book is available for free download here.


From "Passive Solar Energy", B. Anderson, M. Wells


Solar Chimneys


This retrofit passive space heating device, called a thermosiphoning air panel (TAP), uses the existing house wall as the major structural element. The exterior finish is removed, new ThermoplyŽ structural sheathing added over the existing wall, and wood framing added to support the ribbed aluminum absorber plate (industrial siding material) and to support the field-installed insulated glass units. The system shown uses  three patio door replacement units as the aperture, creating three areas of absorber plate, each of which requires a high and a low vent through the house wall to allow the thermosiphoning action to occur. (See pg. 57 for damper construction tips.) The weight of the added glazing is carried by brackets at the base of the panel to a continuous ledger strip bolted to the house wall. After flashing is added, the exterior siding materials are patched around the unit to complete the installation. (Construction details, New England SUEDE.)










Some additional notes:




Gary 5/12/2006