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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal

V Oil And Natural Gas

VI Solar Energy
i Research and Development
ii The state of the art
iii Collectors
iv The solar water heating industry
v Industrial applications
vi Swimming pool heating
vii Building heating and cooling
viii Photovoltaics
ix Wind power
x Cooling
xi The International Solar Energy Society

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



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Building heating and cooling

Passive methods of heating in winter and shading in summer have been used for a very long time. In fact Socrates in 400 BC advocated the orientation of openings for exposure to the low winter sun and roof shades for protection from the high summer sun.

It was not until the 20th century, however, that passive techniques were seriously studied and quantified. Active solar heating systems are quite recent, but for most of Australia the heating requirement is not sufficient to justify the installation of expensive equipment. The trend is to adopt passive solar principles in house design, demanding little or no extra investment, often labelled as 'energy-conscious' rather than 'solar'. The Journal Solar Progress published by the ANZ Section of ISES has described fifty such houses. One problem is that it is very difficult to assess their performance in the absence of elaborate instrumentation. The informative report by CSIRO on their low energy house at Highett, illustrates this point.

An unusual application of passive principles is the provision of relatively cool stable conditions for telecommunications equipment at hot remote sites. Telecom Australia has developed special buildings for this purpose, such as underground chambers and even shelters with chimneys which, surprisingly, collect the sun's energy and assist in heat removal from the equipment.

In Australia, keeping comfortably cool has always been more of a problem than keeping warm, but solar air conditioning for residences is not yet an economic proposition, despite the pioneering work at the University of Queensland in the 1960s. Some large solar air conditioning systems are in operation in public buildings, one at the Townsville office of the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Construction, and another at the Dandenong office of the Victorian Gas and Fuel Corporation. It is generally accepted, however, that while they are technically satisfactory, their economic justification will require an increase in energy costs.

Full air conditioning has become the norm for large office buildings and room air conditioners are common in motels and some residences but operating costs are high. It is not surprising therefore that evaporative coolers, ceiling fans and portable fans have become increasingly popular, due to their low installation and running costs.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - CSIRO; International Solar Energy Society (I.S.E.S.); Telecom Australia (Australian Telecommunications Commission)

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 810 - 811, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher