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IEA SHC: How to Turn Historic Structures into Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2017
Villa CastelliMore than one-fourth of all residential buildings in Europe date from before 1945. Over the past decade, preservationists have taken to the idea of renovating historic structures in an energy-efficient manner. The planned IEA SHC task titled Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emission intends to find the best solutions to this challenge. The photo shows the Villa Castelli at Lake Como in Italy. The energy requirements of the building have been reduced and the remaining demand has been met by a heat pump and PV-generated electricity. 
Photo: Oscar Stuffer, Solarraum
 

New Zealand: Over 35 Years of Steel Absorber Collector Production

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 19, 2016
Arthur WilliamsonFor more than 35 years, Thermocell collectors have been exclusively manufactured in New Zealand. Developed and commercialised in the late 1970s by Professor Emeritus Arthur Williamson from the University of Canterbury, these patented collector types have been produced in Christchurch ever since. In the peak years of 2005 and 2006, about 12 staff worked for Thermocell in administration, production and installation. As New Zealand’s solar thermal market has declined significantly over the past ten years, only two of those people are left today. “Arthur developed a reliable technology and we are maintaining systems which are more than 30 years old,” confirmed Ian Johns, General Manager of Sunstream Solar, a Thermocell collector reseller and installer from Christchurch. The photo shows Williamson in front of a “heat sheet”, the unique feature of Thermocell systems.
Photos: University of Canterbury / Sunstream Solar
 

New Zealand: Prized School Air Heating Project

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 26, 2016
Solarventi New ZealandA New Zealand research project which deployed solar air collectors in schools to improve pupils’ health while reducing heat costs has garnered an award by the New Zealand Institute of Building this year. Robyn Phipps, Professor in Construction at Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, won the award for her research project conducted in cooperation with the Australian subsidiary of Danish air collector manufacturer Solarventi. The project led to the installation of solar air heating systems in ten classrooms of five primary schools in wintertime in 2013 and to the implementation of another batch of systems in 12 classrooms of six primary schools the following winter. Monitoring data showed that attaining similar temperatures in the control classrooms required 2.5 times the thermal energy used in the solar-heated ones. 
Photo: Solarventi 
 

Solar Water Heating in the Waitakere and Rotorua NOW Homes and in 3 Papakowhai Renovation Homes (2009)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on August 24, 2012

This report by Beacon Pathway evaluates the relative successes of solar water heating installations in three pilot  renovation projects in New Zealand. Each renovation project used a different SWH system, which allows Beacon Pathway to make conclusions about best practice - after efficiency levels varied significantly between 36-75% of total energy use being from renewable sources over the monitored period.

From these results, the report makes four best-practice suggestions:

Evaluating Solar Water Heating: Sun, Renewable Energy and Climate Change (2012)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on August 16, 2012

This report was commissioned by New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, to examine the potential benefits of solar water heating (SWH)in New Zealand and assess the merits of government intervention at both local and central level. This involves a general overview of the history of SWH’s development in New Zealand, and the high levels of subsidies it receives from all levels of government.

Integrated Unglazed Solar Panel Development (2010)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on November 24, 2011

This is a presentation of the research done by the Environmental Energy Solutions Ltd. for the development and testing of their prototype solar heat system. The particularities consisted in the large, low cost solar collector integrated into the roof or wall cladding system and its integrated water sourced heat pump and thermal storage system. A prototype was installed on a house in Wellington, providing year-round performance data. This report was done with the support of the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Harnessing the Power of the Sun: Future of Solar Energy (2009)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on November 14, 2011

Owing to the significant potential that the country is offering, New Zealand’s Solar Industry association tries to promote the use of solar technologies in different sectors. The presentation comprises an outline of the available solar technologies – passive, photovoltaic and solar thermal – and gives a more in-depth description of the latter given its multiple advantages and spread within the country.

Case Study: Dairy Farmers Milk Free Energy (2009)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on November 7, 2011

This case study is the result of a partnership between New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the country’s dairy farmers and technical experts, showing the benefits of solar water heating and waste heat recovery systems used to reduce energy costs.

A Guide to Buying Solar Water Heating (2009)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on October 28, 2011

Because of the climatic conditions of New Zealand and the positive impact of solar water heating technologies the country’s authorities encourage the use of this type of installations. This resulted in the issuing of a free guide by the country’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Experimental and Simulated Performance of Commercially Available Solar and Heat-pump Water Heaters in New Zealand (2005)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on September 29, 2011

The article was written by the researchers S.E. Thomas and C.R. Lloyd from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and published by the New Zealand Solar Industries Association.

Their research comes in the context of governmental efforts to increase the penetration of solar hot water heaters in domestic applications in order to enhance energy efficiency of domestic housing.

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