Wednesday, September 10, 2014

South wall solar project musings

Warts and all, here is the south face of my shop. 
 I've let it weather 'naturally' for far too long, and since my ladder phobia kicked in, I've never put the siding on it that it deserves.

My neighbors to the south of me have recently taken down 4 maple trees, so I'm now going to get a ton more sun on the shop year round. I don't mind it in the fall and winter, but summers are going to be annoying.

I'm ultimately going to make the  best of things, and I'm finally going to make the solar wall on this face.

First off, Dyami, I have lots of Tyvek left, and I'll be adding that across the entire face.
Next, I'm going to face my fears, and put up more of the tan T-111 on the top 4' of the building. I"d like to do the pallet siding, but the T-111 is already on hand. I have a window opening framed out on the upper section.

Looking at that photo, the doorway is 6' wide and 8' tall. I'm planning on making a solar wall that will be from the 10' line all the way across and framing the doorway opening.

I'm not sure about the doorway yet. I've been sketching some ideas, currently I want to make a Dutch Door and a side light. I'm thinking a full 4' wide with the side light on the right side. (pardon the crude photoshop doodle).

My newfangled bench is currently on that wall, but I'm thinking of re-arranging the shop a bit, and moving the lathe up to the front of the shop instead. To paraphrase Alton Brown, "but that's another post" #GoodEats

That will give me 60 sf of solar collection. I could go all the way up to the eaves, however I'd lose the heat from the upper section, as it would be above the drop ceiling.

Another option altogether is to simply make the entire south wall into a solar collector, and move the entrance over to the West wall. I have a doorway framed in already roughly where the red frame is here:

I wouldn't eliminate the door on that wall, simply turn each half of the door into a smaller collector, adding to the overall gain. I would still make a larger collector where the green squiggles are, and just build new doors which would in effect be solar panels in and of themselves. 

What say ye faithful readers? 


Dyami asked about my solar plans, well I'm going simple with a design based on info found on

I've been planning on a wall similar to what this link shows. I'm considering adding an additional seasonal lean-to similar to this.  I have a Bunch of 4" black flex hose, I'm thinking of punching several 4" holes through in the 'doorway' space for this year, with a solar powered duct fan pulling the heated air into the shop. I figure I can put a 4x8 sheet of OSB and/or foil backed insulation on the bottom, (raised off of the ground) build a simple lean to from roughly the right edge of the window over to the right edge of the building. I'll tack some roofing felt on the side of the building for the winter, that, plus the black hose, and some plastic sheeting and I should get some additional 'free' heat. You can see the box items just below the window, that was a small scale attempt from last fall, which brought a Little heat in, but not enough to warrant putting it back together again.

The solar wall on the south face, Plus the tent/lean to heater will hopefully allow me to woodwork deeper into the winter months if not all the way through the winter, unless we have another bout with arctic conditions for weeks on end like we had this past year.

1 comment:

  1. Ned,
    Looks good. Assuming the solar wall adds efficiency, I'd say make it the whole south wall.

    Could you share your solar wall design?