Written by Seth O’Bryan, the Living Building class teacher
Dr. Susan Spencer of ROCSPOT made a return trip to Harley in April to work with the Living Building class. She worked with the students to study the solar chimneys in the greenhouse and also give feedback on the mini-solar heaters they are constructing in order to better understand the scientific principles at work. The solar chimneys utilize radiation from the sun to heating and cooling the spaces in the Commons without using any electricity other than to open and close vents. If they are used effectively, we would rely less on the traditional heating and cooling system in the building, and thus, use less electricity. At this time, we do not have much data on how much heat is generated in the chimneys and how much air flow is happening from the chimney into the classrooms. Dr. Spencer gave the students advice on how to construct a scientific experience to investigate and measure the impact the chimneys have on the classrooms.