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Solar radiation the way to go

The Aspen Times published an article on May 18, whereby the Aspen City Council wants to expedite its building code update to get to carbon neutral (“Aspen’s building code headed toward net zero”). Therefore I posit, to reach the worthy goal, another renewable energy source must be introduced into the energy mix: solar radiation for winter heat and domestic hot water.

There are many who would disagree with solar radiation modeled as an independent renewable energy, separate from “energy efficiency.” If designed properly and integrated into the original building plans, renewable zero-carbon solar radiation can provide well over 66% of a new home’s heat-energy demands in the middle of winter and 75% of all domestic hot water year round.

Presently, Energy Innovation and Rocky Mountain Institute and others propose for winter heat to replace the natural gas (combustion) space heater with an electric heat pump. I disagree and instead propose solar radiation as the fundamental heat source for space heating and domestic hot water. It should begin with solar radiation that is designed into the original architectural blueprints of the new home.



As an example of solar radiation: Located within the Glenwood Springs Community Garden is a solar-powered seed-starter that I personally designed and built with my own money. Inside my grow box, solar radiation is captured via a solar-radiation-parabolic-trough, specifically located inside the energy envelope. Last December during winter solstice week, my solar-powered seed-starter boiled water and temperature inside the solar parabolic trough reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ambient temperature was 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carl McWilliams




Glenwood Springs


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