The U.S. Patent Office has granted SolarWall® inventor, John Hollick, patent #8,827,779 titled « Method and Apparatus for Cooling Ventilation Air for a Building ». The invention uses a transpired solar collector to take advantage of a well-known phenomenon called nocturnal radiation cooling which can cool air below ambient from sunset to sunrise.
« Cooling air below ambient using nocturnal energy has long been known but no one has been able to come up with a simple and economical way to harness this free cold energy, until now. We call the system « NightSolar® » and it connects to HVAC economizers. At the same time, it shades and ventilates roofs preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the roof, which can account for half of a building’s cooling demand » states Hollick.
The system works day and night in the summer with the daytime solar heat collected the same way as a conventional SolarWall® system, while also simultaneously shading and ventilating the roof. The heat can either be dissipated or used to heat water or industrial processes. At night these same panels will cool air as much as 10 degrees F below ambient when connected to the economizers on typical HVAC units. In the winter, the solar energy heats the air entering the same HVAC units.
Earlier this year Hollick and his SolarWall heating invention were honored by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in New York City in a new exhibit as one of 80 of the best inventions, inventors and engineering feats of the past two centuries along with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Willis Carrier, George Westinghouse and the Panama Canal. Entitled « Engineering the Everyday and the Extraordinary », the goal of the exhibit is to « invite people to rediscover the remarkable; the engineers and inventions that have shaped our world as well as the extraordinary breakthroughs that are already setting the stage for the future. »
The SolarWall transpired collector was a breakthrough invention that created the global solar air heating industry. It was ranked by the U.S. Department of Energy as being in the « top two percent of energy related inventions. » It continues to be the most efficient building integrated clean energy technology – now used in thousands of commercial, industrial and agricultural applications around the world – that effectively addresses the huge amount of energy used for space and process heating.