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Solar Passive Cooling/Heating of Building at Bikaner in Rajasthan, India

O.P. Jakhar1, Dr. A.N. Mathur2


Department of Mech. Engg. Government Engineering College, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India 2 Director, GITS, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India Email of corresponding author: omjakhar@yahoomail.com

Abstract: The buildings of Bikaner are reasonably comfortable indoors because of thermal damping by the massive roofs and walls. However, the average indoor air temperature (over 24 hours) is about the same as the average outdoor air temperature. In a light-weight building without any external glazing and without any ventilation, the average indoor air temperature is the same as the area weighted average of the sol-air temperature of external surfaces, which is bound to be higher than the average outdoor air temperature. It is an indication of the effectiveness of the natural cooling methods used at Bikaner that the indoor temperatures equal the outdoor air temperature. The indoor temperatures in Bikaner lie just at the edge of the comfortable range. In other climates with higher relative humidity it is possible that inspite of good building design comfortable indoor conditions cannot be ensured because the average outdoor temperature is too high. In such climates it is necessary to adopt measures to lower the average indoor temperature to a level below the outdoor. Specially designed mud walls are still poplar in the hamlets (Dhanies) of western Rajasthan to deflect the hot winds. These are some of the conventional methods of passive cooling, typical in hot and dry climatic condition. India has a very diversified climate heating of buildings in also required especially in upper latitudes and hilly areas and cooling of buildings is required in lower latitude and desert areas. Solar passive architecture provides proper orientation and design of fenestration i.e. doors and windows to take maximum advantage of sun and wind. For heating the aim is to admit the suns energy as much as possible and to reduce he loss of heat in the nights. This is achieved by direct gain through windows, therm-wall, or solarium and other such means. The heat loss is minimized by the proper design of walls, by insulation of walls and roof, by night insulation on windows, by double glazing of windows etc. Key words: Vary-Therm Wall, indoor temperature, solar temperature, summer cooling, winter heating

period for heating is increased. Conversely, if the indoor average temperature is to be higher than the average outdoor temperature (fig. 3), the period for heating is reduced while the cooling period is increased. This is independent of the phase lag due to the mass of the structure. Since the heat flux going out must still equal the heat flux coming in, it follows that the rate at which heat flows in through the building fabric cannot be the same as the rate at which heat flows out. Because the heat flow in and out of a building element depends upon its thermal transmittance, a variable heat flow can be ensured only by a building fabric of which the thermal transmittance properties can be changed at wall. For hot climates this means a high resistance to incoming heat and a low resistance for outgoing heat. Buildings loss and gain heat by radiation, convection, conduction and evaporation. Each of these four modes of heat transfer can be used for altering thermal transmittance.
Air T emperature ( C)

Fig. 1 The average internal temperature equals average external temperature

1. Introduction
In buildings without mechanical cooling or heating, so long as the outdoor weather conditions are stable, the daily heat flux entering the building equals the heat flux out going. In such conditions, the period during which the building heats up is roughly equal to the period during which the building cools down (fig. 1). If it is desired that the average indoor air temperature be lower than average outdoor air temperature, it is shown in fig. 2 that the potential period for natural cooling is reduced while the

Fig. 2 The average internal temperature less average external temperature

Air Temperature ( C)

permit or stop air flow through the cavity (fig. 4). It is not necessary for the flaps to be absolutely air tight. The outer panel is painted in a light colour of high reflectivity. For summer cooling, the vents are kept closed during the daytime and opened at night (fig. 5). The closing of vents creates an unventilated cavity of high thermal resistance, in front of the brick wall while shading it from solar radiation. The opening of vents reduces the thermal resistance of the cavity, allowing rapid dissipation of heat from the brick wall to the cooler night air.

Fig. 3 The average internal temperature greater average external temperature

In solar heated buildings, the use of glass permits short wave radiation to enter the building but does not allow long wave radiation to go out. Thus solar heated buildings can maintain indoor an average temperature higher than outdoor. Movable insulation is sometimes used along with glass, which also alters the heat flow by conduction. In naturally cooled buildings, selective ventilation i.e. ventilation only during the cool night hours, causes rapid convective heat loss while convective heat gain is much lower. Night time roof surface evaporation of such buildings also cause rapid heat loss at night while during daytime there is no corresponding heat gain due to evaporation. Several natural heating and cooling systems have been designed using the idea of variable thermal transmittance. Most of these systems are applicable only to very low (one or two storey) buildings and in the case of skytherm, involve the use of many large movable panels which are prone to mechanical breakdown. The idea of using the roof for cooling and heating has many limitations particularly when it is considered that the roof areas in a building should be minimized as they intercept a lot more radiation in summer than in winter. The Trombe wall system can be used on buildings of any height but its main application is for heating and not cooling. Therefore, the need to find a natural cooling system that can be applied to buildings that are taller than two storeys. In deep plan buildings, almost the entire outer surface needs to be glazed to provide adequate day lighting. However, in the case of less compact buildings, the glazed part may be only a quarter of the external wall area. In such buildings the idea of variable thermal transmittance for natural cooling can be applied to the opaque parts of the external walls. In this paper it presented to use a specially designed cavity wall for this purpose and to call it Therm-wall.

Air Temperature ( C)

Fig. 4 Therm Wall Construction

Fig. 5 Summer Cooling

2. Therm Wall
It is well known that the thermal transmittance of a ventilated cavity is greater than that of an unventilated. The design of a wall section that can have high or low thermal transmittance therefore calls for a cavity wall that can be ventilated at wall, either to the outside or to the inside. In its simplest form the therm wall can be made by fixing a thin panel of any weather resistant material outside a brick wall with an air gap of about 5 cm. Movable flaps are provided at the bottom and top to

For winter heating, the outside vents are not necessary but vents are needed towards the room at the bottom and top of the wall (fig. 6). The vents are kept open during sunshine hours when the cavity heats up due to solar radiation incident on the wall. The thermosyphonic of cavity air brings heat into the room. At night when the cavity air temperature falls below the room temperature, the vents are closed to prevent heat loss from the room. The heat flux brought into the room in this way will be much less than in the case of Trombe wall, because the outer panel of therm wall is opaque and not glazed. It follows, therefore, that this type of wall is useful only in moderate winter conditions such as prevail in Udaipur.

Fig. 6 Winter Heating

3. Experimental Set-up
Experiments were conducted on a small sized vary therm wall during May 2008 and February 2009 at Bikaner Latitude, 280 10 N. The experimental setup was created by fixing a plywood panel ((1.3 m x 1.3 m) in front of a 12 cm thick west facing brick wall of an existing buildings. The plywood panel was painted a buff colour while the brick wall was in its natural red colour. The room measured 2.5 x 4.0 m, and all walls in it were of 12 cm thickness, while the concrete roof was 18 cm thick. Thermocouples were fixed to the therm wall as well as to an adjoining section of normal brick wall. To measure the heat flux coming into the room through the two wall sections, heat flow meters consisting of two copper constantan thermocouples placed 0.5 cm apart and set into cement mortar, were installed in the brick walls on the inner surfaces. The experiment was conducted over a two week period in summer and the flow of air through the cavity was changed as follows: a) No flow day and night b) Flow only during nighttime During the experiment, the temperature of the room varied considerably because of heat inflow and outflow through the thin brick walls. No attempt was made to maintain the room at a constant temperature but ventilation through the room was almost completely stoped. The winter experiment was conducted in two parts with a slightly altered set up. The outer ply wood panel was replaced by a 5 mm thick asbestos cement sheet and an insulated space was built using expanded polystyrene sheets behind the experimental wall (fig. 7). The object was to eliminate the heat gain into the internal space from other walls and roof of the room. Openings were made in the bricks wall to allow the cavity air to be circulated into the room.

Fig. 7 Winter Experimental Set-up

4. Results
The results of the summer experiments with no air flow and with air flow only during the night are presented in fig. 8 and 9. In both cases it is seen that the cavity wall temperatures were much lower than those for the ordinary wall. This is mainly due to the shading of the outer surface. Since there was comparatively greater heat loss and gain through the other surfaces of the room and the room air temperature was not constant, the internal surface temperatures of the ordinary brick wall and the therm wall have been normalized with respect to the room air temperature. Ordinary cavity wall (with no air flow) is much less than that through the ordinary brick wall, but the outgoing heat flux through the cavity wall is only slightly greater than that through the ordinary wall. There is net heat gain to the room through the cavity wall for a period of 14 hours while the corresponding period of heat loss is about 10 hours. In the case of the therm wall, the incoming heat flux is much less and the outgoing heat flux much greater than for the ordinary wall. The period for net heat gain is reduced to 10 hours while that for heat loss has been increased to 14 hours.

Fig. 8 Measured temperatures with ordinary cavity wall during summer


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[11] Fig. 9 Measured temperature with therm wall during summer

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4. Conclusions
The usefulness of the therm system depends upon the amount of solar radiation received on the particular surface. The greater the incident solar radiation, the more effective is the therm system in protecting in internal space. In summer the greatest amount of solar radiation (per sq. metre of surface area) is received on the roof followed by the west and east walls. The north and south walls do not receive much radiation in summer. In these situations, the outer finish would be a light coloured reflective paint. Two approaches have been tried out, one in which the outer cover consists of a polythene sheet which permits emission of long wave radiation from the roof and the second in which the outer cover consists of a white painted galvanized iron sheet. In both cases the air space was ventilated to the inside of the building at night. The roof surface in the first case and the galvanized iron sheet in the second case get cooled due to emission of radiation to the night sky and consequently the temperature of air in the cavity is also lowered. Ventilation towards the inside brings the cool air into the room. As the experiments of the thermo system have not been conducted on a roof, it remains to be seen which approach works better or if there is any difference between the two.

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