Forty years ago, Harold Hay, 98, invented a simple, inexpensive way to heat and cool a home using the sun’s rays, but without the panels and wiring that come with conventional solar energy systems.
He’s been pushing for its adoption ever since, trying to find footing in each of the solar industry’s last three boom-and-bust cycles.
Yet, despite the merits of his pioneering technology, the energy establishment has shown only fleeting interest.
Follow this link to read more detail about the passive heating and cooling system.
As Gore said, quoting Upton Sinclair “it is hard to get someone to understand something — if their salary depends upon not understanding it.”
When it comes to climate change, those who refuse to act are mostly those without imagination, or those whose financial interests support the status quo. Passive solar systems cost little or nothing to operate, and so represent a serious threat to the fossil fuel industry.
Hay’s system keeps a house between 65-75 degrees year-round with virtually no electricity. What’s the catch? It requires the house to be built from scratch, and built strong enough to hold a roof-sized pond of water. Still, to have no heating or cooling bills for the life of the home? Wow.
Even if people didn’t want to have flat roofs, I see no reason why they couldn’t heavily insulate their home and locate the solar pond elsewhere on their property. Then they could use pumps and heat-exchangers to take advantage of the water’s thermal mass. Certainly this could be a great way to cool apartments and commercial buildings as well.
Cheap electricity, fuel oil, and natural gas have kept people using energy-hogging central furnaces and forced-air systems, generating countless gigatons of CO2 for decades. Solutions such as the Skytherm house are as simple and elegant as it gets and produce no CO2. Only two things stand between our current situation and a clean planet and better life: greed and inertia.
Carbon taxes will make the status quo prohibitive, and force many of these types of solutions. There are many details to be worked out, of course, but a better national energy policy can turn this sad situation of needless energy waste around. There’s no excuse anymore, it’s just common sense. It’s high time for solar energy to stop being a science project and get mainstreamed.