Solar Calorimeter and Green Buildings


There is an acute increase in the energy utilization as well as its production in the world over in general and in particular in UAE. This is because of increase in population and economy. As a result of this there is an increase in global warming and CO2 emission. To reduce the generation and also to mitigate its effect on the climate, one has to reduce the utilization or need of the energy use in the society. Share of buildings in total energy consumption and its utilization is huge around 20%-40% depending upon country and it is used in cooling, heating, hot water, home appliances, lighting and cooking etc. In UAE 40% is the buildings share of total energy consumption of which Cooling is around 70% of building load, Lighting is the next and all the others will account for 20%.

Hence, thermal insulation of building represents a big potential in Energy Saving in UAE.

A theoretical study is done at site on different cost-effective and thermally efficient solutions, related to solar insulation materials for the buildings. To perform a real outdoor test for savings obtained with solar insulating materials, a solar calorimeter test facility has been designed and builds. The present design is aimed to determine the heat flux reduction and the energy savings of different measures with similar indoor conditions, with and without solar insulating materials for the same ambient conditions.

The building material being tested at the calorimeter are EIFS (External insulation finishing system), PIR board retrofitting, Gypsum Rockwool wall, concrete and reflective coating.

Two types of tests are being performed at solar calorimeter as follows:

  • Steady state (same constant temperature in each calorimeter)
  • Free Floating (Transient) (heat flux is directly measured through a wall)

The solar laboratory scale study shows that energy savings to 20-30% can be achieved with different solar insulation material due to reduction of heat flux by 20-75%.

This study can be highly helpful, in building Low/Zero Energy Houses by analysis of heat flow pattern, thermal comfort and energy performance of different insulation materials available in market in harsh climatic conditions. Study results (real time) can be used for selection of materials, best for the market and the environment.