US 20100116264 A1
The present invention relates to A roof-covering element (10), with an upper surface (11) and a lower surface (12), whereby for roof covering a plurality of elements (10) is juxtaposed in a particular way such that neighbouring elements (10) are interconnected by means of an interlocking arrangement (13, 14, 15), and whereby the roof-covering element (10) comprises means for exchanging heat with the environment, where at least one of the surfaces (11, 12) of the element (10) is at least partially made of a metal alloy. The particular roof-covering element (10) can in particular be made of an alloy comprising any combination of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe), i.e. the alloy CuZn40Mn2Fe1. The roof-covering element (10) according to the present invention can also comprise a cavity (16), provided inside the element (10), in which a fluid is circulable for heat exchange with the environment. The roof-covering elements (10) according to the present invention can be interconnected by means of a tubing system (25) for the circulation of the fluid between different elements (10).
1. A roof-covering element (10), having an upper surface (11) and a lower surface (12), whereby for roof covering a plurality of elements (10) is juxtaposed in a particular way such that neighbouring elements (10) are interconnected by means of an interlocking arrangement (13, 14, 15), and whereby the roof-covering element (10) comprises means for exchanging heat with the environment, characterised in that at least one of the surfaces (11, 12) of the element (10) is at least partially made of a metal alloy.
2. The element (10) according to
3. The element (10) according to
4. The element (10) according to any one of the
5. The element (10) according to any one of the
6. The element (10) according to
7. The element (10) according to any one of the
8. The element (10) according to any one of the
9. An assembly of roof-covering elements (10), comprising at least one roof-covering element (10) according to any one of the
10. The assembly according to
11. A heat exchange system in a building or a similar structure, using a fluid for heat exchange with the environment, comprising a storage device for storing the fluid, a pump for circulating the fluid in the system and a control device for regulating the heat exchange, characterised in that the heat exchange system comprises at least one roof-covering element (10) according to any one of the
12. A method of manufacture of a roof-covering element (10) according to any one of the
13. A method for roof covering using roof-covering elements (10) according to any one of the
The present invention relates to a roof-covering element, having an upper surface, a lower surface and an interlocking arrangement for interconnecting neighbouring elements, whereby a plurality of elements is juxtaposed in a particular way for roof covering. The present inventions relates in particular to such a roof-covering element which comprises means for heat exchange with the environment.
The roof, i.e. the top covering of a building, can essentially be found on each and every building in the world. On one hand, the purpose of a roof is to shed rain water off the building and to prevent it from accumulating on top of the building. On the other hand, roofs have a more and more important decorative function. To realise these objectives, roofs can be built with different forms and shapes and using many different materials. With respect to the form, roofs can be highly pitched (sloped) or low sloped in form. While pitched roofs are in general found on industrial or commercial type structures, low sloped roofs are the primary design found on residential homes. As roofs are fully faced toward the sky, they must resist to all weather conditions. In particular, they have to be watertight, secure, durable, attractive and elastic enough to withstand important temperature shifts without cracking. Subsequently, roof-building techniques and roofing materials have been refined continuously for centuries to bear roofs of considerable strength and durability.
Over the millennia, people have surfaced their homes with just about anything that would hold the weather out, from animal skins to tree bark. Today, there are many roofing options with respect to the material, colour, shapes etc. The use of different roofing materials depend largely on particular weather conditions, but also and aesthetic criteria. Traditional roof coverings—slate and wood shakes—have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. On the other hand, new materials such as asphalt/fibreglass composites, lightweight concrete and metal tiles are products of the technological revolution. Each of these materials has slightly different durability, appearance, cost and ease of application. Furthermore, contemporary roofs are complex systems, made up of a variety of components that work together.
In the last decades, the so called solar roofing systems have increasingly been used for roof covering. These systems are designed in such a way to be able to generate electricity and/or to produce hot water or hot air, in addition to act as a roof covering. Typically, these systems make use of the so called solar cells. A solar (or photovoltaic) cell is a piece of equipment that is capable of converting the solar energy into another kind of energy. An assembly of solar cells is generally referred to as a solar panel. Historically, solar cells and panels have been used in cases where electrical power from the grid were unavailable. Recently, solar cells have though been more and more used as a source of “clean” or alternative energy, in contrast to “dirty” power from nuclear power plants.
Solar systems can be built-in in roofs in many different ways. On the one hand, solar cells can be directly integrated in the covering of pitched roofs. These systems are usually referred to as solar shingles. Essentially, solar shingles are solar cells shaped like a conventional (slate or ceramic) shingle.
They are designed to fit nicely onto many different types roofs and to be compatible with regular shingles. Nevertheless, solar systems can also be mounted on an existing roof, e.g. solar panel on a tile roof, or integrated in a flat roof.
However, all known solar roofing systems present a number of huge disadvantages compared with regular roofs. To start with, all solar panels have a deep, dark, purplish-blue colour, such that roofs covered with the solar roofing systems look completely different than other roofs. Moreover, the installation of solar roofing systems is prohibited in different circumstances, i.e. in particularly old buildings or buildings of a particular historical relevance. Moreover, the majority of solar cells has an important dazzling effect, which can be a source for important inconvenience in the entire neighbourhood. An additional problem of conventional solar systems arise in connection with the integration of these solar systems in existing roofs. As solar roofing systems become increasingly popular, more and more house proprietors wants to replace existing roofs by solar roofs. Nevertheless, solar panels represent an additional weight for the underlying roof constructions, such that installing solar panels is often possible only after a thorough renovation of the whole roof structure. Similar problems arise with solar shingles, where the replacement of conventional shingles usually requires a new static calculations and an important modification of the roof support.
On the other hand, the so called geothermal exchange heat pumps or ground source heat pumps (GSHP) become also a more and more popular source of energy for heating buildings. These ground sorce heat pumps use the Earth as either a heat source, when operating in heating mode, or a heat sink when operating in cooling mode. Geothermal heat pumps have an external loop containing water or a water/antifreeze mixture, and a much smaller internal loop containing a refrigerant. Both loops pass through the heat exchanger. There are also the so called air source heat pumps (ASHP), which use the same principle but extract the heat from the air, rather than the ground. Thus, the installation of these pumps is simpler and cheaper.
However, these air source heat pumps present the drawback that, in the cooling mode, the evacuation of the superfluous heat is sometimes difficult. Some systems using air source heat pumps employ therefore additional cooling devices, such as ventilators, in order to draw off the heat. These ventilators are an additional ennoyance for the neigbours and contribute also to the high costs of these systems.
It is thus an objective of this invention to propose a new and improved roof-covering element that does not present the above-mentioned inconveniences and disadvantages of the prior art.
According to the present invention, these and other objectives are achieved in particular through the features of the independent claims. In addition, further advantageous embodiments follow from the dependent claims and the description.
In particular, this objective is achieved through the invention in that, in a roof-covering element, having an upper surface and a lower surface, whereby for roof covering a plurality of elements is juxtaposed in a particular way such that neighbouring elements are interconnected by means of an interlocking arrangement, and whereby the roof-covering element comprises means for exchanging heat with the environment, at least one of the surfaces of the element is at least partially made of a metal alloy. The advantage of such a device is, among other things, that the roof-covering element can be produced of a natural material. A metal alloy is a particularly suitable material for this purpose, as the kind of alloy and the mixing ratio of the different compounds can be chosen to satisfy all different requirements of the particular roof. In particular, an iron or aluminium alloy can be used in connexion with modern buildings, where the silvery shine of these materials can be particularly advantageous. In addition, a particular metal alloy to be used can be chosen in function of its thermal or mechanical characteristics for an optimal protection against atmospheric conditions and environmental influences.
In an embodiment variant, the metal alloy comprises any combination of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe). This embodiment variant has the particular advantage, among other things, that the metal alloy comprising a combination of these components has a particularly advantageous proprieties with respect to the thermal, mechanical and chemical aspect. Thus, a roof-covering device made of this kind of metal alloy is particularly suitable for the realisation of the present invention.
In another embodiment variant, the metal alloy comprises the alloy CuZn40Mn2Fe1. The alloy CuZn40Mn2Fe1 has the particular mechanical characteristics, that make it very suitable for the present invention. In particular, this alloy, known also under the trademark DORNA-A® has a particular surface colour that is not substantially different from the colour of the conventional tiles or other similar roof-covering elements. Thus, a roof-covering element according to this embodiment of the present invention has the advantage of being very easily interchangeable with the conventional roof-covering elements.
In another embodiment, a cavity is provided inside the element, between the upper surface and the lower surface of the element, whereby a fluid is circulable in the cavity for heat exchange with the environment. The advantage of this embodiment is, inter alia, that a fluid can be brought to circulation inside the roof-covering device for heat exchange with the environment. The roof-covering element offers a good platform for heat exchange between the fluid and the outside air, through natural convection. Moreover, the sun light can heat the fluid inside the cavity of the roof-covering element such that the heat exchange can work in both directions (i.e. cooling or heating of the fluid). In this way, the building with the roof made of roof-covering elements according to this embodiment of the present invention can be heated or cooled, depending on the needs. Moreover, this particular embodiment of the present invention allow a good collaboration with air source heat pump systems, where the superfluous heat can easily be dissipated in the environment.
In a further embodiment, at least one nipple with an opening is provided in at least one surface of the element, whereby the opening of the nipple is connected with the cavity. This embodiment has the advantage, among other thins, that the fluid can easily be filled in the cavity, or extracted from the cavity of the roof-covering element. The nipple has in addition the advantage that a tube or another similar device can be easily attached to it and thus to the roof-covering element, for circulating the fluid.
In a further embodiment, the cavity comprises a channelling system.
The advantage of this embodiment is, among other things, that the internal surface of the cavity of the roof-covering element can be increased, such that the heat exchange with the environment can be facilitated. Using an appropriate channelling system, the internal surface can be significantly increased, such that a much better heat exchange rate can be achieved in comparison with similar other devices without such a channelling system.
In another embodiment of the present invention, the upper surface and/or the lower surface of the element comprises a fin structure. The fin structure can in particular be formed similar to the structure of a radiator or a similar device. The advantage of this embodiment is, among other things, that the particular fin structure of the surface of the roof-covering element allows to render possible a very efficient heat exchange with the environment. As at least one of the surfaces of the roof-covering element in a preferred embodiment is at least partially made of a metal alloy, the heat exchange with the environment can be accelerated and expedited using the special fin structure with a larger surface.
In another embodiment, the fluid is water and/or an aqueous solution. Water is very suitable for heat exchange thanks to its advantageous thermal characteristic. In the same way, aqueous solutions, in particular solutions with an antifreeze matter help to achieve an even more important effect.
At this point, it should be stated that, besides the roof-covering element according to the particular embodiments of the invention, the present invention also relates to an assembly of roof covering elements, a heat exchange system in a building or similar structures, a method of manufacture of a roof-covering element and a method for roof covering using the roof-covering element according to the present invention.
The present invention will be explained in more detail, by way of example, with reference to the drawings in which:
This interlocking arrangement 13, 14, 15 is basically built-up of both horizontal and vertical beads 13, 14 and grooves 15 in the peripheries of the roof-covering element 10 which work together to interconnect safely neighbouring elements 10 into a continuous assembly. It is well understood that the interlocking arrangement 13, 14, 15 can comprise additional interlocking, fastening and/or binding means (such as clamps or nails) for a safe and stable interconnecting, fastening and binding of neighbouring elements 10 on the roof.
An assembly of conventional roof-covering elements 10 of
Examples of the roof-covering element 10 according to different embodiments of the present invention are shown in
The roof-covering element 10 of the first embodiment of the present invention in
The upper surface 11 and the lower surface 12 of the roof-covering element 10, as well as the interlocking arrangement 13, 14, 15 and other parts of the roof-covering element 10 can be made of a same material. One or various parts can however be made of a material which is different than the material of the other parts. In particular, at least the upper surface 11 of the roof-covering element 10 can at least partially be made of a metal alloy. This metal alloy can in particular comprise a combination of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe). However, this metal alloy can also comprise any other combination of these or other metals. This metal alloy can also contain non-metal substances, which are particularly necessary or advantageous for achieving special properties of the alloy. At the same time, the other parts of the roof-covering element 10 can be made of another material, in particular of another metal or metal alloy, but also of non-metal materials such as clay, ceramic, glass, plastics or other synthetic materials. For example, the upper surface 11 of the roof-covering element 10 can be made of a first metal alloy, the lower surface 12 of the roof-covering element 10 of a second metal alloy, and the interlocking arrangement 13, 14, 15 of a third metal alloy. It can be appreciated that any other combination of materials is possible, without leaving the general inventive concept of the present invention.
The reference numeral 16 in
Furthermore, the roof-covering element 10 according to the first embodiment of the present invention in
A second embodiment of the roof-covering element 10 according to the present invention is illustrated in
As it can be very much appreciated from
Although the present disclosure has been described with reference to particular means, materials and embodiments, one skilled in the art can easily ascertain from the foregoing description the essential characteristics of the present disclosure, while various changes and modifications may be made to adapt the various uses and characteristics without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims.