:: Specific Design Brief

CAT 4: Solar Water Heating - further information


The potential for using solar water heating systems in Britain is enormous, with 40,000+ already in use in homes. Design and make a solar water heating system for a context of your choice.

A: Design and make or model a solar water heating system suitable for use in a home similar to your own.

B: Design and make or model a solar water heating system for use when camping.

• Is the product something that people want and need?
• Will it always be wanted and needed? Is it economically feasible to make the product?
• Who would benefit the most from this product given their available income and their local environment?
• Will production (and any subsequent repair, recycling) provide work to help people earn money?
• Which raw materials will be used? Are they renewable?
• What pollution is caused by the extraction and processing of the raw materials?
• How will the product be manufactured?
• What other materials are needed in order to use the product? (eg fixings, surface paints or varnishes)
• Can the product be made locally using local skills and local materials?
• How much energy is used at different stages of the products lifecycle?
• How will the product be packaged?
• How will the product be sold / transported to the shops?
• How will the product be promoted / marketed?
• How will it be used? Will it only be used for its intended purpose? How many times will it be used before being thrown away?
• How will it be disposed of after use?
• Could it be repaired? Re-used? Re-cycled?
• Can the product be easily repaired using local materials? How many parts can go wrong? How likely are they to go wrong?
• Materials can be selected to minimise their initial environmental impact.
• The issue of balancing this against the product life can be explored – early replacement simply leads to increased environmental load.
• Structural analysis can be applied to ensure that the size of all components is appropriately minimised
• Styling needs to be explored. There is no point in extending the life of a product in a ‘technical sense’ if it simply becomes redundant in a ‘fashion sense’. For a long product life, a ‘design classic’ is the target.