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Water as a Material by sarahpfeif
September 3, 2008, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, Technology | Tags: , ,

Water is used in many different areas in architecture today. Usually there is a water feature that decorates (for lack of a better word) the site and adds to the building design. Another use of water within a building is for passive heating and cooling. In an article from the Arizona Solar Center, water is used in a more invisible way in that one cannot see the water but can feel the effects. Water walls are said to respond more quickly in the absorption and releasing of heat over masonry walls. Water walls are linked in with direct gain for the most part. The walls absorb the heat of the sun during the day and at night when it is cooler outside the heat is given up to the interior to reach equilibrium. The water in the walls must be contained in either plastic or metal or course and it heats more quickly and evenly than masonry walls. Also, having a glazing material that diffuses light can evenly distribute light / heat to all surfaces (ie. walls, flooring, ceiling etc.)

In indirect gain a masonry wall design is used with a water wall between the sun and interior space. The water wall does not need to be vented at the top as masonry walls used in this manner.  The bottom of the wall can be a 55 gallon drum of water or a sealed plastic or concrete container. As the water is ehated the convection process distrbutes the heat through the water and the interior space is warmed by the radiating heat.

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