CA Group and Canadian Conserval Engineering have announced an official partnership between the two companies that gives CA Group the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute a a product called SolarWall in the UK.
SolarWall is a building cladding system that captures energy from the sun and converts it into a current of warm air, which is circulated into the building to provide some or all of its daytime heating needs. The system can also be switched to direct warm air out of the building to help cool it in the summer.
SolarWall is already in use in many continents across the world, in a wide variety of climates. Its UK launch is anticipated to generate immense excitement due to increasingly stringent regulations on CO2 emissions and building heat loss.
Brian Watson, commercial director at CA Building Products, says: “It has taken until now for the system to reach the UK because until the 21st Century, low energy costs and relatively low environmental concerns meant that there was little or no motivation to invest in such products. Now, with Kyoto and global warming issues, demand is suddenly immense in the UK.”
SolarWall consists of a metal cladding panel, with up to 2500 tiny perforations per square metre in its surface. It can be retrofitted to existing buildings as well as specified in new build. Ideally mounted on the southern facing elevation (where solar gain is greatest), its outer surface is heated via solar radiation.
The warmed air boundary layer is then drawn through the tiny perforations by negative pressure inside a 100mm - 200mm air cavity between the outer cladding and the wall of the building. This negative pressure (created by a fan, which can also be solar-powered) draws the warmed air directly into the building’s air duct system.
In addition, SolarWall elevations re-capture night-time radiated heat, that would normally be lost, and re-circulate it into the building. In recapturing this heat, SolarWall can dramatically improve the U-value of the existing wall. The cladding panels can be either aluminium or Colorcoat coated steel from Corus, so are fully recyclable, and the darker the colour the higher the gain.
In summer, SolarWall can help to cool the building by screening the treated elevation from the sun’s heat, and venting hot air to atmosphere at the head of the elevation, while the fan is used to draw cooler fresh air into the building.
Virtually maintenance-free due to no moving parts, the system can also be used to deliver hot water. It is proven to pay for itself in less than three years (new build) or three to seven years (retrofit) with the heating cost savings it brings.