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A survey of 50 potential solar residential sites for comparison of energy use before and after solar space heating installations produced five homes that met the necessary requirements. Results show that fuel savings ranged from 30.6% to 32.0% of the heating requirements. The solar collectors used air as the transfer fluid; living space varied from 1500 ft2 to 2700 ft2. An f-chart analysis was performed on the five systems and compared to the actual fuel savings. The f-chart program predicted fuel savings of 10.5% to 17.9%, a significant difference. Another performance program, MONSUN, was subsequently compared to the test results. The MONSUN program uses weather data input collected over the past five years for the micro-climate in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Data compared more favorably with predicted values, ranging from 22.9& to 36.8%. The test results from specific installations, carefully analyzed, represent undisputable evidence to the potential solar user. Theoretical analysis is as good as the assumptions made and lacks credibility. Discrepancies between actual data and theoretical predictions can be found in two principal areas: (1) inaccurate weather data input and (2) differences between the collector efficiency curve established the test stand (ASHRAE 93-77) and the actual installed efficiency curve. The later discrepancy can be attributed to differences in flow rate between test and field results.

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Citation: Symposium, ASHRAE Transactions, 1987, vol. 93, pt. 2, Nashville, TN