Records of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory and Solar Village
Scope and Contents
The Records of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory and Solar Village consists of documents dated 1940s to 1998, with the bulk falling from 1955 to 1994. The collection documents research on solar energy conducted by SEAL staff at the Solar Village, as well as solar energy advancements from across the United States and other parts of the world. Staff from SEAL were heavily involved with national and international organizations such as the International Energy Association (IEA), the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), the National Bureau of Standards, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Work with and for these organizations is documented in the collection. Materials in the collection include reports, papers, conference proceedings, office files, raw data, schematics, manuals, photographs, and slides. A large portion of the collection consists of reports on solar energy and solar research, created by SEAL or other organizations.
- Creation: 1940s-1998
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-1994
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
The Solar Energy Applications Laboratory (SEAL) was established at the Foothills Campus in 1972 by George Lof, a chemical engineer and professor of civil engineering at Colorado State University. The Solar Village was the research facility for SEAL. Funded by an NSF grant, a five-building complex was constructed to test both heating and cooling systems to determine how practical solar energy would be in a residence. Each building used a different type of solar heat collection system, including a drain-down liquid system, an air system, and a closed loop antifreeze system. Data-logging equipment was installed in each building, providing continuous data to SEAL researchers.
SEAL became a major systems development center for solar heating and cooling of buildings. When the lab's first structure, Solar House I, was built in 1974, it was the first house in the United States engineered to be both heated and cooled with solar energy. The primary emphasis of research conducted at Solar Village was on improving the performance of systems installed in a real-world environment so that they can reach their theoretical potential. Under Dr. Lof's leadership, faculty and students from civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering received support from the U.S. Department of Energy for studies on room air motion, building and HVAC simulation, short-term energy monitoring, thermal storage, and neural networks for HVAC control.
In the late 1980s, federal funding for alternative energy research began to decrease significantly, as the energy crisis of the 1970s ended and petroleum was again cheap and readily available. Government funding to continue research at SEAL became scarce and the program began to shrink accordingly; by the late 1990s most research funds were exhausted. The buildings that made up Solar Village were used by CSU until they were deemed by facilities management to be too expensive to continue operation. All but one of the buildings were razed between 2006 to 2007.
44 linear feet (31 record cartons, 12 map folders)
Language of Materials
The Records of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory and Solar Village document the research conducted on solar energy by SEAL staff, and the state of solar energy development in the United States and parts of the world during the latter half of the 20th century. The collection contains reports, papers, conference proceedings, office files, raw data, schematics, manuals, photographs, and slides.
The collection consists of 8 series in 31 record cartons and 12 map folders:
Series 1: Solar Energy Applications Laboratory reports and papers, 1955-1994 and undated
Series 2: Reports by others, 1940s-1990s and undated
Series 3: Student papers, 1967-1994 and undated
Series 4: Conference proceedings, 1950, 1955-1989
Series 5: Office files, 1973-1998 and undated
Subseries 5.1: Committees and organizations, 1970s-1998
Subseries 5.2: Correspondence, letters, and memos, 1970s-1994
Subseries 5.3: Drafts of writings, 1973-1984 and undated
Subseries 5.4: Miscellany, 1970s-1980s and undated
Subseries 5.5: Proposals and progress reports, 1974-1988 and undated
Series 6: Raw data and schematics, 1974-1991 and undated
Series 7: Manuals, 1960s-1980 and undated
Subseries 7.1: Equipment manuals, 1960s-1970s and undated
Subseries 7.2: Training manuals, 1977-1980 and undated
Series 8: Photographs and slides, 1953-1997 and undated
The Records of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory and Solar Village was transferred by the College of Engineering in March 2006.
Some reports have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Digital Repository. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.
Processing was completed in May 2015. The collection was reboxed into acid-free boxes. Bound reports were left unfoldered; the remainder of the materials were placed in acid-free folders.
Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.
- Lof, George O. G. (Person)
- Karaki, Susumu. (Person)
- Winn, C. Byron, 1933- (Person)
- Colorado State University. Solar Energy Applications Laboratory. (Organization)
- Guide to the Records of the Solar Energy Applications Laboratory and Solar Village
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Karen Spilman
- Copyright 2015
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA