Solar Heating - Converted Energy From the Sun


Solar Heating - Converted Energy From the Sun
Solar heating is energy from the sun that is converted into either thermal energy or electricity. It is a renewable resource that is environmentally friendly.

Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is available just about everywhere on earth. This type of energy is free, and cannot be raised in price. Solar energy is also one of the major sources of the world’s power. It is used to provide lighting, mechanical power, and electricity in cities all around the world. Energy from the sun in the form of heat can be utilized either passively or actively to replace traditional energy sources in commercial and residential buildings and homes. This type of energy can also be used to keep a person warm and may also assist in the warming up of food.

Passive solar energy is one form of solar energy. This kind of energy represents an important strategy for replacing traditional energy sources in buildings. Anyone who has sat by a sunny window on a cold winter day has felt the effects of passive solar energy. All passive techniques use walls, windows, floors and roofs, in addition to exterior building elements and landscaping, to control the heat generated by solar radiation. The term "passive" means that no extra mechanical equipment is used, other than the normal building elements. Passive solar heating of buildings happens when sunlight passes through a window, hits something, is absorbed by that object and is converted to heat. Once the heat has entered the building, many different methods are used to keep and scatter it. A well-insulated and airtight building helps prevent heat loss and allows solar heat to provide more of the heating needed. Approximately 25 percent of a building's heating requirement can be gained with passive solar techniques.

Active heating of buildings is one of the major uses of the sun's energy. In some cases, the cost is almost as high as that of non-renewable energy sources. One way of actively heating a building is by using solar energy to heat water in solar collectors, then transferring the heat to the rest of the house by liquid or air. Another way to actively heat a building is to heat air and send the heated air throughout the rest of the building. In addition to those methods, a building can be heated by using the solar energy found in the environment in the form of heat through heat pumps. The amount of heat that these techniques can generate is dependent on the strength of the sun’s rays.

Solar energy can be used to warm up food in numerous ways. The Solar Oven is one way to cook food using solar energy. This product’s energy source is the sun, which is absolutely free. It also provides food without the taste of smoke or gas and does not need to be preheated with charcoal or wood.
Solar energy can also be used to keep people and animals warm. Radiant Space Heating is a strategy that conserves a lot of energy and brings warmth to many areas in a house or building. Radiant heating works basically with different kinds of forced air. It controls the heat loss from a person’s body. Heat leaves the body in three ways, through breathing, airflow, and radiation. However, half of all the body's heat loss occurs through radiation. Therefore, if the air surrounding a person is heated using solar energy then the amount of heat loss through radiation is reduced and the person stays warm longer.

Solar energy in the form of heat is the least polluting of all known energy sources. Today, we are just beginning to discover its ultimate potential. While solar energy has been available to mankind since prehistoric times, it has not been as effectively used as other sources of energy. The challenge that today’s society faces is creating a system that provides a reliable energy supply using solar heat.

Definitions
Solar collectors- any of various devices for the absorption of solar radiation for the heating of water or buildings or the production of electricity.
Solar energy- energy obtained from radiation emitted by the Sun.
Passive solar heating system- relies on natural methods of collecting and distributing heat from the sun.
Active solar heating system- collects heat from the sun and circulates it through a hot water or heating system.
Radiant heating- A system to heat and cool buildings that relies primarily on radiation heat transfer. Typically, heated or chilled water is circulated though floor or ceiling panels to condition the space.
Non-renewable resource- an energy resource that is not replaced or is replaced only very slowly by natural processes. Primary examples of non-renewable energy resources are the fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, and coal.

Works Cited
“Glossary of Solar Heating”. Graylab 1995. 17 November 2001. .
McLaughlin, Charles W., Thompson, Marilyn. Physical Science. New
York City: McGraw- Hill Companies, Inc., 1999. 163- 165.
“Solar Heating”. ACRE 1997. 12 November 2001. .
“Solar Heating and You”. Consumer Energy Information 1998. 14 November 2001. ddddd .
"Sun (astronomy)". Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2001. 14 November 2001.
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