If you are new to the solar energy, check out our glossary.
Solar thermal energy
Solar energy is constantly generated by the sun and reaches the earth at varying strengths depending on the latitude and longitude, time of day, time of year and current weather at a given location. There are different types of solar energy which depend on which type of wave is being collected. Most solar panels are photovoltaic (PV) panels, which capture light waves from the sun to trigger a reaction that generates electricity.
Solar thermal energy works by collecting infrared rays (the same type employed by thermal imaging “heat” cameras), which are invisible to the human eye but can be perceived as warmth. Solar thermal systems are used to collect, store and later distribute this warmth which is known as solar thermal energy. Solar thermal collectors are part of a larger system which may provide domestic hot water, space heating, radiant floor heating or pool and hot tub heating. INroof.solar’s patent-pending collectors were designed to enhance heat transfer and boost efficiency, allowing you to fulfill more of your heat load.
Attacking the lion’s share of the issue
End use consumption looks at household rather than individual energy use. The data considers energy from all sources (electricity, heating oil, natural gas, propane, other) and analyzes what the energy is being used for and what portion of energy goes toward each use. Across the country, space heating requires the largest share of residences’ energy. However, in cooler regions like New England the percentage is even greater than the national average. On average, New England homes use 60% of their total energy for space heating and 15% for water heating, meaning thermal end uses account for 75% of all the energy used at the residence. With INroof.solar collectors you can meet that need with free, clean solar thermal energy instead of expensive, polluting heating fuels.
Commercial buildings also use a large share of energy for space and water heating – 32.5% of their total energy consumption (nationwide across all industries). Commercial building see a smaller share of energy used for thermal purposes because they are often unoccupied especially at night when heating costs can be higher, on average have fewer uses for hot water, and tend to use energy for other professional operations. Though they see a smaller share of energy, they often use much larger amount of energy overall leading to a higher final heat load in BTUs.
Some commercial industries use significantly more thermal energy than others. An analysis of the principal building activities that use the highest share energy for thermal end uses can provide insight into the types of businesses that would benefit most from solar thermal energy. For details about businesses types see our glossary.
Why metal roofing?
Metal roofing has many advantages including longevity, the ability to shed snow, resistance to all weather conditions, and perhaps the best part—it is completely recyclable. It’s high thermal conductivity makes it a near perfect solar thermal collector.
Improved heat transfer
Solar thermal products are held to national and international standards to ensure consumers get what they are promised and that government subsidies and incentives are well-spent. Compliance with those standards is exhibited through certification by the ICC-SRCC™ or another solar certifying entity. A comparison of the ratings included on the certificate shows collector performance relative to other certified products.
The improved efficiency over existing roof-integrated solar thermal products has been verified by independent third party testing, and the improved efficiencies have been measured over a wide range of operating conditions. The innovation of our system is centered on the custom aluminum extrusion that is assembled with metal roofing materials to create a high performance solar collector integrated with a high quality roofing system. The significant performance gains over existing technologies are the result of a design that allows the heat transfer fluid to be more directly (thermally) coupled with the solar absorber. A comparison of collector performance based on third party (SRCC/FSEC) certification data with other roof-integrated products shows the superior performance of the INroof system! The graph assumes an ambient air temperature of 70 degrees F with varying inlet water temperatures. (Other assumptions for the enthusiastic reader include: 800 W/m2 irradiance, and a light 1 mph breeze.)