This building block builds on the group of building blocks on energy. Students are expected to know the basic terms concerning energy and the interrelations of environmental issues.
The building block "Thermal efficiency of heating and solar energy systems" promotes the understanding of how heating systems work, illustrates how energy and thermal energy loss are measured and how thermal efficiency can be determined. The aim of the building block is to draw attention to the fact that some energy transformation systems (heating systems or solar energy systems) do not always work properly. (Partially) defective systems use more energy, which could easily be avoided without major investments - if only they would be recognized as (partially) defective. Inefficient systems can be detected by expert observations or by determining the thermal efficiency of the system. This building block can be used as a basis to detect inefficiencies. Efficient dimensioning of boilers is also discussed. Over-dimensioning – which is the main cause of inefficiency – can be detected by the application of a quick and easy test.
The building block should help students to understand energy related issues in their personal environment and to recognize and develop potential energy savings.
Table of contents
- Efficiency and sustainability
- Measuring energy flows
- Thermal energy loss mechanisms in heating systems
- Problems caused by over-dimensioning
- Efficiency of wood-burning appliances
- Efficiency of solar thermal energy
It is recommended to use the attached material to present the topic with interactive experiments (about 4 hours). There are notes on every slide that provide background information and instructions.
It is also possible to use individual parts or experiments of the building block (e.g. CO2 concentration, heat-output of a candle, thermosiphon circulation, etc.). The presentation provides a basis that can be built upon.
Intended effects on students
- Attract attention to heating systems and how they work.
- Recognize, prevent and eliminate inefficiency of systems.
The presentation (including comments and notes, which can be used as a basis for lectures) is available on the platform. Each lecturer may focus on different aspects, add information to the presentation or adapt the presentation to his/her specific needs.
Candle, scales, blowtorch, model to measure thermal efficiency, CO2 indicator, thermography camera