Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Caleb Kong, Ames High School, Ames, IA
It is critically important to effectively utilize solar energy to improve environmental sustainability. This experiment addresses a small part of a bigger idea on passive solar heating. The objective was to find a correlation between the type of flooring and the overall heating and cooling of a model house. To test this experiment, twelve cubes with side lengths of one-foot were constructed from blue board. A section was cut out of each model to install one of two window sizes. A thermometer for measuring the temperature of the house was installed. Three types of flooring were used: carpet, fake wood (vinyl), and wood. Based on prior knowledge, a hypothesis was formed stating that large windows with dark flooring would perform the best, best meaning a higher overall temperature. The model houses were mounted off the ground outside on a ladder. The temperatures were taken every ten minutes for two hours, twice a day. The flooring was switched after a few days of testing, eventually allowing for comparisons to be drawn from all types of floorings. Results showed the hypothesis was partially correct. The wood flooring showed the highest temperatures, followed by the fake wood, and finally, the carpet. There were other factors as to why the wood performed the best, thickness being one of these factors. Overall, taking the weather conditions into consideration, the houses with the wood heated a little slower than the fake wood but cooled slower. Houses with smaller windows still proved to be outperformed.