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Our BatchGeo world MAP shows the locations of green architecture, green building and renewable energy projects featured on Solaripedia.

Project

SolaRoof Keeps It Cool and Hot (Canada)

Credits: ©2010 SolaRoof

A distinguishing feature of a Solaroof building is the use of liquid bubbles to create insulation. When needed, a mass of soap bubbles are held between two transparent skins that form the roof and walls of a Solaroof building to provide a thick transparent blanket of insulation or cooling shading. The Sola Roof Greenhouse has heating and cooling processes built into the transparent building envelope to collect, use and reject (cooling) solar energy. These Liquid Solar Tech processes include the Bubble Tech system which greatly reduces the tendency of a transparent building envelope to overheat or chill very quickly. These systems require a small amount of electrical power for pumps and blower operation (for Bubble Generation), using about five percent and 2.5 percent of the normal consumption for cooling and heating, respectively. Such low energy requirements can be supplied on a renewable basis from conversion of biomass into biofuel or from photovoltaic systems that can be integrated into areas (less than 5%) of the roof.

 

SolaRoof Soap Bubbles

Soap bubbles are used in a functional plastic covered greenhouse to insulate when the outside temperature is as cold as - 30 degrees C and when the interior heat in the summer gets so hot that the plants in greenhouses need to be kept cool. The soap bubbles insulate when they need it and dissipate when they do not. ©2010 Kat and Ross Elliott

The novel SolaRoof building envelope is generally composed of transparent, structural fabrics which are extrusion-coated open mesh glass scrims that are referred to as Sola Fabric. This building envelope system is manufactured as a double-layer, prefabricated, modular panel system for easy on-site wall and roof assembly. These transparent panels are designed to have the longest service life of any structural fabric available today.

Bubble Tech
Bubble Tech uses equipment called Bubble Generators which are positioned within the Cavity Space formed by the double layer transparent roof and/or wall. The Bubble Generators blow bubbles from a Soap Solution that rapidly fill the Cavity Space to dynamically control the building envelope temperature, insulation property, and radiation transmission and reflection. 

Bubble Shading and Dynamic Cooling on Summer Days and in Hot Climates

The liquid bubbles provide hundreds of layers of bubbles of about 6 mm (1/4 inch) diameter since a typical roof would be one meter thick. This provides a shade that is similar to cloud cover and absorbs the invisible heat spectrum of the sun. The advantage is cool daylight under the transparent roof that greatly reduces stress and improves productivity and comfort in the controlled environment space.

Bubble Insulating and Dynamic Heating on Winter Nights and in Cold Climates

The liquid bubbles provide a thick blanket of insulation at night that is able to reduce the heat loss by a factor of ten times as compared to standard double polyethylene covered greenhouses and is about 15 times improvement over a single glass covered greenhouse. The renewal of the bubbles brings the stored solar gain from the liquid thermal mass system to the building envelope so that no conventional heating is required inside the solar controlled environment space during cold nights.

The proper function of bubble generation, regeneration and destruction give complete control over the properties of the Sola Roof. Together with the liquid solar process of climate control, the bubble technology can produce ideal environments for growing plants and housing animals and providing healthy living, working and recreational spaces. The Sola Roof processes are very dynamic and can be constantly monitored to provide automated response to the changes in the outside weather conditions. The system can capture solar thermal gain during the day, store it in the liquid thermal mass, and then distribute this low temperature energy throughout the building envelope at night to eliminate the need for conventional heating of the interior space.

Solar Greenhouse - provides an ideal solar controlled environment for growing horticultural and food crops and maximizing production while requiring minimum energy and conserving water resources, according to its inventor Richard Nelson.

SolaRoof is at an early stage of development with no true scientific data to support the claims by inventors and practitioners. The results to-date include several operational field units that show promising potential. The scientific community and university-based students and researchers are encouraged to collaborate with the DIY community via the SolaRoof wiki .


Resources

SolaRoof Greenhouse with Bubble Insulation Video

SolaRoof Wiki