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Minimizing Solar Heat Gain in the Tropics

by Larry Schlussler PhD on March 21st, 2012

Here is a reply we recently sent to the Technet21 forum. The forum primarily focuses on what is called cold chain issues.

Some Suggestions for control of solar gain in clinics:

Toryalai Hart had a good point, controlling the temperature of a clinic would help both the performance of the refrigerator and the occupants. Near the equator most solar gain will occur on the east/west walls and the roof. Solar heating on east and west walls could be minimized by vegetation and exterior window shades; exterior shades are more effective than interior. Over hangs are not effective on east/west windows. For a new building east/west facing windows should be minimized.

An inexpensive way to minimize heat gain though the roof is the use of a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier would be installed inside. It is either aluminum foil or aluminum coated plastic film. The principle means of heat transfer from the roof is by radiation. Convection is minor since hot air stays near the ceiling. The aluminum surface minimizes radiant heat transfer. Painting the outside roof surface and east/west walls white would also be helpful.

As Toryalai Hart points out traditional building materials produced more comfortable buildings. Poor architecture designs could produce hot conditions when outside temperatures are temperate. While effective traditional architecture could on the other hand produce temperate conditions on a hot day. It would be easier to pick an appropriate refrigerator if performance figures are based on temperature, not climate zones.

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One Comment
  1. you can also solar heating by adding frosted vinyl over the window.

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