The Solar Wall Oven has been Barbara Kerr’s pet project for over two decades. Since 1985, when she first built one into the house she designed and now lives in, she has wanted to make this cooker available to the world. The main impediments have been how to draw up plans for constructing the oven, and how to instruct people to correctly install it. Now, Do-It-Yourself Guidelines for design of the oven have been drawn up to appeal to designers, architects, builders, and remodelers so they can create their own variations to suit their circumstances. It does not provide detailed construction plans either for the cooker or its installation. This leaves wide latitude for selection of materials that are locally available and/or compatible with the type of home construction. This document also contains instructions on how mount the oven in the south wall of a house positioned to receive sufficient sunlight to cook properly. Over the years there has been a continuing interest in the Solar Wall Oven from people desiring a truly practical solar cooker. We hope these guidelines will at last succeed in making it possible for them to incorporate one into his or her lifestyle.
To build a solar wall oven you need a kitchen (or other convenient room) with an unshaded south facing wall. Yes, it would be less expensive to incorporate this "feature" when building a new home. Still, for those with the ability to do so, I believe there is ample reason to consider knocking a hole in your wall and adding one to an existing home. Here is why.
First let's look at the benefits of using any solar oven:
- It does not use up non renewable fuel resources
- It does not create or cause to be created any kind of pollution.
- The energy it uses is FREE!
Now let's look at the additional benefits you get when building the solar oven into the wall of your home:
- Convenience - You don't have to go outside, your solar oven can be as accessible as a conventional oven.
- Lower cooling costs - the heat generated for cooking is still kept outside your home, even though the food can be accessed from inside.
- Heating - when not used for cooking, an in-wall solar oven will help heat up the room it's in by simply leaving the oven door open.
So there you have it. Building a solar oven into a wall of your home will help you save energy, save money, lower emissions, lower cooling costs, lower heating costs . . . at no added inconvenience.
Note that the Solar Wall Oven is suitable for homes in the temperate zones away from the equator. In equitorial zones, the sun rises in the east and the following a path to directly above the house. It then continues this path until it reaches the horizon in the west. This makes a south-facing wall oven impractical in this zone. An east-facing cooker could be used to cook in the morning and/or a west-facing cooker could be used in the evening to cook. A cooker in the roof might be more suitable for these conditions.
Recent news and developments
- February 2013: Celestino Ruivo offers his idea for incorporating a wall oven reflector that will not need reorientation as the sun moves across the sky. However it is unclear at this time how the reflector would need adapt to the varying height of the sun's path across the sky depending on the season. Areas close to the equator typically require almost direct southern orientation for wall ovens to be effective.
- December 2012: Joel Goodman describes and illustrates the constraints and opportunities for incorporating a permanent thru-wall solar cooker in home design. Wisconsin Thru-the-Wall Solar Cooker
- The Terra Foundation's data sheet on this cooker
- Do-It-Yourself Guidelines
- Barbara Kerr's US Patent for a Through-the-wall oven
- Through-the-wall ovens: Weather-proof ovens that allow access from inside the kitchen - Dr. Paul A. Funk
- The Scheffler Community Kitchen is another type of through-the-wall solar cooker.