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Jim Crabb
Mech Engineer
Asked a question 7 months ago

Solar Thermal is a source of heat that's available to all of us. Our hospitals need heat (though not as much as we're dumping in them today). Can we collect enough to make a difference? What's your experience with solar thermal?

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I don't know of any hospitals in the US who have used solar thermal and liked it. I remember talking with people who experimented with systems during the 70s and found the systems did not work well, or took a lot of maintenance (which is kind of a deal-killer in healthcare). Having said that, in Europe and other places, you cant even build a building any more without using solar thermal; it is such an efficient way to generate any needed heat. In healthcare, we have the challenge of small amounts of roof area, in many instances. I recall that in California, we no longer subsidize solar PV, but I think we still have incentives for solar thermal. I wonder if there are any hospitals out there who have tried it? If not, I wonder if there are any who would be WILLING to try it. I think we must go here, and I also think that the growing body of experience from around the world likely means that today's systems are better than the ones that we fear from the 70s. Along with bell bottomed pants. 

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