A suburban observatory in Worcestershire, UK based on a metal garden shed

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  Construction 11 - Thermal Control


Great care was taken in the planning of the observatory to try to ensure that temperature and condensation were kept under control.  This was particularly important because the observatory was based on a metal shed.  The walls were insulated to prevent the shed heating up and to inhibit condensation formation.  It was felt to be important that the observatory could cool down as quickly as possible at night, and thus the only insulation on the roof was a thin layer of polystyrene 'veneer' stuck to the underside of the roof with grab adhesive.  This will hopefully inhibit condensation formation yet still allow heat to be lost relatively rapidly through the thin metal roof..  A design of shed with a white roof was chosen to reflect light and heat off the roof during the day and hence stop the inside of the observatory from heating up too much.

  The side and back internal walls were lined with 11 mm thick polystyrene insulation.  After being cut to size, this was stuck  to the inside of the metal walls with copious quantities of solvent-free builders' grab adhesive.


The sliding doors were also lined with 11 mm polystyrene insulation, but the walls behind them could only accommodate a couple of thicknesses of polystyrene veneer.

  The inside of the roof was clad in a single layer of the polystyrene veneer.  This polystyrene veneer was then painted with a single coat of white emulsion to help prevent it becoming damaged.


  After one summer of using the observatory I was concerned that, during particularly hot weather, the temperature inside the observatory could reach as high as 35oC.  To counteract this I installed a small solar powered extractor fan in the roof.  This provides a slow, but steady flow of air during sunny weather, helping reduce peak temperatures.

  For further details of dew control measures see Fitting Out.  
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Last updated -  14th July 2006

Copyrightę 2006 Michael Morris