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Solar Homes

Figure from experiment 31 from Earth Science with Vernier

Introduction

Alternative energy sources are energy sources other than the nonrenewable fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Solar energy, or energy from the sun, is one energy source alternative. A passive solar heating system uses no pumps, fans, or mechanical devices. Insulation and heat storage are important factors in such a system. A thermal mass is a material that absorbs and stores heat. Thermal masses can keep a home from heating or cooling too fast.

In this experiment, you will examine the effectiveness of a thermal mass. Two model homes, one with a thermal mass and one without, will be heated by a light bulb. Two Temperature Probes will monitor their temperatures throughout a simulated day and night. You will then use what you learn to design and build a model solar home.

Objectives

In this experiment, you will

  • Use Temperature Probes to measure temperature.
  • Find the relationship between thermal mass and the ability of a solar home to retain heat.
  • Design, build, and test a model solar home.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Earth Science with Vernier »

Experiment 31 from Earth Science with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Earth Science with Vernier</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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