Barra system

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The Barra system is a passive solar building technology developed by Horazio Barra in Italy. It uses a collector wall to capture solar radiation in the form of heat. It also uses the thermosiphon effect to distribute the warmed air through channels incorporated into the reinforced concrete floors, warming the floors and hence the building. Alternatively, in hot weather, cool nighttime air can be drawn through the floors to chill them in a form of air conditioning. <!-- OK, from the title of the book it seems it does use just a thermosiphon...-->

Barra's are said to have more uniform north-south temperature distributions than other passive solar houses. Many successful systems were built in Europe, but Barra seems fairly unknown elsewhere.

Passive solar collector

To convert the sun's light into heat indirectly, a separate insulated space is constructed on the sunny side of the house walls. <!--Diagram needed --> Looking at the outside, and moving through a cross section there is an outside clear layer. This was traditionally built using glass, but with the advent of cheap, robust Polycarbonate glazing most designs use twin- or triple-wall polycarbonate greenhouse sheeting. Typically the glazing is designed to pass visible light, but block IR to reduce losses, and block UV to protect building materials.

The next layer is an absorption space. This absorbs most of the light entering the collector. It usually consists of an air gap of around 10cm thickness...
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