At AstroCamp we take pride in living in the beautiful mountains and wilderness of southern California. We appreciate the deer, squirrels, rabbits, coyote, pine trees, boulders and so much more. One way that we show this appreciation is by using natural and renewable energy whenever possible.
Solar energy is a great renewable resource that we have put into use in a fun way. It turns out that if you have the right equipment and enough sunshine, you can heat up water using our own sun’s radiation.
This is a solar water heater. The way it works is quite simple. You pour the water at the top, it goes through the pipe, and comes out the bottom. Just by the water passing through the pipe we can increase the temperature by more than 50 degrees! But how?
The first step is the pipe itself. It is made of copper which is a great conductor of heat, meaning that heat can be easily transferred throughout it. The second step is to paint it black. Black pigment absorbs many wavelengths of light which helps to heat up the pipe. The third step is the plexiglass covering. Plexiglass allows visible light to pass through it, but is too thick for infrared light, or heat, to escape it. When, the visible sunlight passes through the clear covering, it loses some energy, turning the visible light into infrared light which is then trapped under the covering.
We have taken this small solar water heater and turned it into a big idea. AstroCamp uses this technology to try to reduce our energy waste by heating our pool with a similar system! Water from the pool is pumped up to the roof of our gym, passed through a black copper pipe and is then pumped back into our pool. Thanks to the sun’s energy we have a bunch of happy campers!
Happy Earth Day from all of us at AstroCamp to you!