Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

James McLeskey


The United States Department of Energy indicates that 97% of all homes in the US use fossil fuels either directly or indirectly for space heating. In 2005, space heating in residential homes was responsible for releasing approximately 502 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Sun provides the Earth with 1000 watts per square meter of power everyday. This document discusses the research of modeling a system that will capture and store solar energy during the summer for use during the following winter. Specifically, flat plate solar thermal collectors attached to the roof of a single family home will collect solar thermal energy. The thermal energy will then be stored in an underground fabricated Seasonal Solar Thermal Energy Storage (SSTES) bed. The SSTES bed will allow for the collected energy to supplement or replace fossil fuel supplied space heat in typical single family homes in Richmond, Virginia. TRNSYS is a thermal energy modeling software package that was used to model and simulate the winter thermal load of a typical Richmond home. The simulated heating load was found to be comparable to reported loads for various home designs. TRNSYS was then used to simulate the energy gain from solar thermal collectors and stored in an underground, insulated, vapor proof SSTES bed filled with sand. Combining the simulation of the winter heat demand of typical homes and the SSTES system showed reductions in fossil fuel supplied space heating in excess of 64%.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010

Included in

Engineering Commons