Solar tile flooring is flooring made with solar cells that absorb the sun's energy and provide light and/or heat as a result. The term is also applied to using tile as thermal mass. Thermal mass refers to using a material like tile or concrete that can absorb heat through glass windows and the heat reduces the amount of energy needed to keep the house warm. Tile is a natural solar heat collector and is often used in sunrooms, garden rooms and family rooms that get a lot of sun during the day. The sunnier the climate, the more efficiently the tiles will work.
Solar tile flooring has been used in commercial settings for years, but is just now becoming available for residential use. The solar tiles are often square or decorative tiles that have a solar cell built into the tile. During the day the solar cell absorbs sunlight and at night that sunlight is released as light. The solar tile flooring works beautifully set in a room that gets plenty of sunlight. Most residential solar tile flooring is currently used outdoors to create lit walkways on decks and patios. Technology is advancing so that indoor solar tile flooring will be used more frequently for indoor rooms.
Solar Tile Flooring
Houses built to be energy efficient use passive solar heating concepts. These concepts include using thermal mass wherever possible. Thermal mass is material that is known to efficiently absorb heat. For example, a sunny room can have flooring consisting of concrete that's overlaid with tile. The tile absorbs the sun's heat when the sun shines and slowly releases the heat after the sun goes down. This keeps a room warm. For solar tile flooring to work most efficiently, it should be dark colored. Dark colors absorb more heat than lighter colors.
As housing construction methods continue to develop new techniques for improving energy efficiency, there will be many new products developed over time. More and more solar tile flooring will be used in homes on a regular basis. A house is like any other system. All the parts work together to create an efficient system. Solar tiles will be part of a complete system that includes thermal mass, energy efficient windows and so on.
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