A team of volunteers from the Negev group of Engineers without Borders – Technion visited several Bedouin villages during 2014 with the support of the AJEEC – Negev Institute. Speaking with the residents of the villages, they understood that the most pressing problem was lack of energy in the face of extreme temperatures. This is most pronounced in winter, when temperatures are very low. The chill in these buildings prevents mothers from sending preschoolers to kindergarten on cold days. As a result, the volunteers choose to address heating in kindergarten classrooms.
After considering several alternatives, the team chose solar radiation, abundant in the Negev, as a solution. The volunteers designed a solar convection heater for use during times of sunlight, when solar radiation is available. This is appropriate as the kindergarten classrooms are active and require heat in the morning hours.
The group designed and constructed a prototype system. Made from recycled materials, the system consists mainly of used drinking cans that were painted and connected as pipes. The black-colored pipes are installed on the outer wall of a building. As the sun warms the air in the pipes, it naturally circulates in the structure’s open space due to convection.
The prototype was tested on the roof of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and has shown impressive test results.
Volunteers are currently constructing a second prototype system for a simulated kindergarten classroom, and planning to begin the testing soon. Following evaluation of the prototype’s efficiency, a larger, upgraded model will be built and installed in the kindergarten at Um-Etna’an together with the staff and community.
The group is now planning the next visit to the village, to meet with the families and stakeholders, and to design the working process together with all partners.
This simple and sustainable system can be easily copied to additional kindergartens. After the first stage of the program the group will study its applicability.
AJEEC-NISPED: Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development
EWB Technion - Negev Group