Monday, May 12, 2008

As I Watch the Sun Rise Over Manhattan, Yet Again . . .

Well, I just finished my PV final project - the presentation is at 1pm today and I can't wait to have it all over with. It is mostly an Ecotect analysis project. I tested out the addition of louvers with integrated Solar panels to the greenhouse. An interesting exercise - I certainly learned a lot from the analysis, but there is no real 'design' here to present. But I have lots of numbers! That's got to be worth something right?

Really I was interested in seeing how the addition of a shading element (here the louvers) would affect the internal environment of the greenhouse. I originally though that the PV would be able to power all of the mechanical stuff of the greenhouse - but the winter heating loads (if you want to use it in the winter) are just WAY too extreme for the poor little PV to keep up with. But it comes close to being able to power the fan, shutter vent motor, thermostat and other misc. during the summer months. So - pretty cool. The best part is that I started to learn more about the thermal analysis tools in Ecotect. Pretty complicated, but just like the rest - it makes sense once you get into it. I've been trying to check the Ecotect numbers by hand as I go sense, as we all know, you can't trust computers. But It is 5:42 in the morning right now and I just don't want to do any more math today. So I'm gonna trust it for now.

I can't decide if I should go home and lay down for a few hours, or now that it is light out - I should just man-up and get some more work done. Jeez, what a week. Only about 8 more hours to go and I can get some real sleep. Can't wait.

Anyway - for now here's a couple images from my PV presentation.

Sort of an initial concept diagram. You get the idea.

Louvers with PV integrated.

Sun Path Diagrams and Shading Masks. Whoever invented that fancy Sun-Path diagram sure deserves a cookie or something. Must have been a smart one.

My PV cells. Yeah . . . I doesn't really work.

This is the most interesting stuff - 'Radiation levels' are good and all , but when you can see the math translated into conditions at a human scale (like temperature) you can really begin to get a sense of the power of all this building simulation software. Look how the louvers knocked down the temp during the peak period from like 12 - 4. Sweet.

The louvers actually conserved some heat during the winter months too since their U value was much higher (well, lower actually - lets say better) than the stupid polycarbonate (like .48 - I don't care what you say, it ain't no 0.37) but I also adjusted the ACH to more accurate 1.1 for the second round of analysis, so that tempered some of the heat retention gains.

And then you can put it all into things you can really understand - like how much money is it gonna cost me to heat this place. Fun stuff. If only you could actually believe any of it. Then it would be really cool.


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