Goals of Innovation: To create a heat sink that reduced the overall energy needs of the house year around.
Create an attractive and useful interior design element.
The interior face of the solar chimney's north wall is adorned with 280 Glaceau Smartwater plastic water bottles. Collectively, the mass of bottles becomes a heat sink. In cooler months, the bottle wall absorbs thermal mass from direct sunlight entering through the south-facing clerestory window of the solar chimney. Then, a ceiling fan pushes the warm air downward into the open floor plan. In warmer months, the clerestory window's awning blocks the bottles from direct sunlight. Still, heat from the surrounding air is absorbed into the bottles and released in the evening when ambient temperatures drop.
The bottle wall heat sink strategy reduces the reliance on the gas-fired boiler to heat the home, thus reducing energy consumption.
Not only does the bottle wall regulate indoor temperatures, it also provides an attractive, innovative feature to the home.
Distilled water was factory-sealed in the bottles to prevent bacteria growth. Labels from the Glaceau bottles were removed to achieve a uniform aesthetic. The bottles are installed on a grid of Bell aluminum bicycle water bottle holders.
Obstacles: The original intent was for the occupants to create the bottle wall by reusing their own consumables, adding random plastic and glass bottles over time to form their own unique heat sink. This design included a series of mounted shelves and wires on which the bottles rested and were secured. Owners could select various sizes, shapes, and colors of bottles, fill and seal them, and display them on the pre-mounted shelves. Although the reuse of the occupant's bottles is environmentally conscious, and the random collection of bottles is aesthetically compelling, there are flaws in this idea.
We decided to mount the bottles on individual bicycle bottle holders. This would accommodate the wide variety of bottles that the occupant might reuse.
Bacteria would form if the occupant filled and sealed the bottles themselves, however, increasing maintenance to the bottle wall. Ultimately, the contractor installed Glaceau uniform bottles, which are factory filled and sealed. This created a simple, consistent expression that requires minimal maintenance for the occupant.
Cost Information: Water bottles and holders: $800-900
Additional plywood/labor: $2,000
Total cost: $2,900
Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: Since dark bottles absorb more heat, the effect of the heat sink could have been greater had we used dark bottles.