17 August 2008
Whilst Michelle and Adam are away I've had a chance to start playing with making a heliostat for directing sunlight into the lounge in winter.
The main windows in our lounge faces 23 degrees off west. This means in winter we get very little sun till late afternoon. So why not build a reflector to bounce some free sunlight providing extra light and a bit of heat?
What is a heliostat?
So... yesterday I glued some sisilation (aluminium reflective insulation) onto a single 2400mm x 1200mm sheet of 3-ply plywood. The sisalation was left over from my insulation frenzy a few years back. The aluminium is reasonably shiny - it's not a mirror finish, but good enough for playing/experimenting.
And today the sun came out and I had a quick play to see if this was going to work at all.
First experiment with the heliostat.
And yes - it does throw a noticeable patch of sunlight onto the lounge windows.
20 Sept 2008
I've had the heliostat positioned resting against the garage door at just the right angle to reflect 9am sunlight into the kitchen, and by 10am it drifts over to the lounge windows. That seems to work OK.
The main problem to resolve is when you're inside, looking out the window, you get the full glare of reflected sunlight. I'm cogitating on that problem. Hopefully a solution will occur at some point.
Last weekend we had several days of beautiful sunny weather and everything warmed up. We didn't need any room heating (day or night) and the solar water heating was giving us 54o C. Our electricity usage dropped from 25 Units to 12 Units. So - nothing beats a sunny day.
General thoughts so far:
29 December 2008
The heliostat is hidden in the garage now that it's mid summer. We don't need any extra light or heat.