Asks an Australian if they've been busy or not, and they might reply, "Mate, I've been flat out. Like a lizard drink'n." Colin Gillam, CEO of Alternative Fuels and Energy may well give just such an answer regarding his Sun Lizard solar heating/cooling project. Especially as he has been working on it for the past 16 years. His persistence finally paid off when last month he was scored both the judge's vote, and the people's choice vote on the ABC New Inventors TV show.
In basic terms the Sun Lizard harnesses the sun to heat and cool a house. How it does this is a tad more complex. Though not radically so. In summer a photovoltaic panel collects solar juice to power a series of fans that encourage fresh cool air to enter the house from vents at ground level. Come winter you switch modes and now a box on your roof or wall comes into play. A covering sheet of low-iron glass allows for maximum clarity so oodles of sun can enter the box and heat a bunch of steel baffles. These are angled in such a way as to give the collector a capture area more a third greater than its external size. This heated air is then fed back into the house via ducting, again at ground level, to warm rooms. It is continually circulating and reheating (up to 50Â°C) the air. All without grid power.A single unit is said to heat and cool an area of 100 sqm (~1,000 sq ft) to up to 10 CÂ° cooler in summer and 4-6 CÂ° warmer in winter. Collin reckons a Sun Lizard can cut heating and cooling costs by 60%, when properly installed on a well designed building.
Municipal libraries are already using the designs. And apparently the United Nations also like the concept. They've bought four for use in Afghanistan. ::Sun Lizard, via Red Ferret. (bit of an animal theme going on here!)