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Design and Development of a Low-Cost Roof Top Solar Ventilator

[+] Author Affiliations
Ragavanantham Shanmugam, Sathishkumar Mani

Anna University, Chennai, India

Umayakumar Vellaisamy

Larsen & Toubro, Ltd., Chennai, India

Karthikeyan Balasubramaniam

Wheels India, Ltd., Chennai, India

Paper No. IMECE2018-86997, pp. V013T05A031; 6 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 13: Design, Reliability, Safety, and Risk
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 9–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5218-7
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


In hot summer, the sun rays strike the roof surface and heat up the enclosed attic. Passive vents (Soffit or Gable) allow some circulation of fresh air. Presently, in India, passive Whirlybird is predominantly used for ventilation purposes, which spins and sucks up the warm air and forces it out upwards through the vent on the roof. Since it depends mainly on the natural wind velocity, it’s efficiency to cost ratio is very low. Also, the accumulation of dust particles has a deleterious effect on the performance and life of the unit. Hence, in this work, a roof top solar ventilator has been designed and developed at low cost to address the above-mentioned problems. This unit has a high-performance brushless DC motor, an adjustable solar panel to achieve optimal solar exposure and it blends seamlessly into roof. The solar panel powers the fan through the motor, thereby increasing the air circulation through the vent. This increased air circulation provides the required pressure to force the hot air out from the attic. During hot summer, the difference in temperature between the floor and the ceiling can reach 10–15 °C, leading to a constant heat pile up in the attic and this system can limit the temperature of the attic to 40°C. In winter season, moist air present inside the house warms up, rises and collides with the cold air entering through the roof. This provides a mixed circulation that prevents the cold air from entering the roof and also reduces freezing of snow on the roof surface. Further, it keeps the inside space cooler and drier. Since this ventilator operates on renewable energy source, it is a simple and feasible solution that is environmentally friendly at low-cost. This provides healthy, energy efficient homes and work spaces as it reduces the usage of air conditions and heaters. A comparative study on the performance, life and cost of both the existing and the newly developed ventilators has been made and the same is reported.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Design , Solar energy , Roofs



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