Sunspace precedent


Does anybody know of any precedents wherein a sunspace/solarium was used to store heat during the day, then release the heat at night?  Maybe via thermally massive materials like concrete as a border between the sunroom and the living space?

Jan 7, 13 3:36 pm

there are alot of examples....see trombe wall. 

thermal mass... rammed earth trombe wall....

there was one I remember seeing that used a water filled wall.  can't remember where I saw it, but since water has the highest thermal storage properties it worked very well...

as for a sunspace, I can imagine that a connected greenhouse with some type of operable opening to the main space would work well in certain climates.  attached greenhouses were very common in 18th-19th century english estates. 

I would go with a mass wall in a  hot arid environment.  The thickness of the wall should be at least 24" in a place like arizona so that the heat transfers slow enough to (not get in) during the day.

Jan 7, 13 3:57 pm

Unfortunately, this space is several stories up, so rammed earth won't do.  I thought about a trombe wall, but I only need the space heated at night, so I guess the unvented variety with a large bit of thermal mass would do (expensive though!).  The only thing that worries me is that I have never seen a trombe wall be very deep.  Any reason that this is so?

Jan 7, 13 4:56 pm

what kind of climate? what direction is the wall oriented?

I have seen several 24"+ rammed earth walls, yes it is very expensive...Since you want to store the heat for night, and it is several stories up, how about a greenhouse/patio combo with operable glass louvers?  If it is operable to the inside and the outside, it can be used for ventilation (of heat out) in the warm months and heat storage and nighttime transfer in the winter months...If you can add water to the space (for mass) it should hold and release the heat slower throughout the night (rather than if only warm air which will release heat very fast).  possibly some aquatic planters that are exposed to direct sun within the greenhouse/patio space? 

Jan 7, 13 5:27 pm

I was actually planning on doing exactly what you suggested!  It's great to get some confirmation!  The project is a 6-story condo in San Francisco for a competition, and the proposed trombe wall would be facing directly south.  My basic plan is to have the southern facade in a recessed "grid" configuration, with a trombe wall behind each grid element.  Some of the cells of this grid would be larger than others and serve as habitable space, and would be utilized as sunrooms.  Halfway between this:

and this:

Jan 7, 13 6:45 pm

great minds think alike lol....good luck on the competition!

Jan 8, 13 5:12 pm

Just be careful of overheating during the day... San Francisco's mild climate means you will need less heat to create a comfortable indoor temperature than you think you do and on those sunny days, the hot California sun will create an oven quite quickly. 

Jan 24, 13 6:58 pm

Sure in the Mission over by where you are - but what about the Outer Sunset in "Summer" where there is little if any sunshine?

Jan 24, 13 7:22 pm

well if there are no sunny days where this project is being proposed, then a sunspace won't do any good as a heating given that the strategy is being investigated I am assuming there are enough sunny days to make it a worth while strategy.. thus warning about over-heating... which is one of the most common issues reported with sunspaces.

Jan 25, 13 7:38 pm

It won't be an issue if it is operable glass.  Sunspace can open to be just a patio...

Jan 26, 13 7:27 pm

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