Climate change is becoming more important day after day. The main actor to decarbonize the economy is the building stock, especially in the energy used for Domestic Hot Water (DHW), heating and cooling. The use of renewable energy sources to cover space conditioning and DHW demands is growing every year. While solar thermal energy can cover building heating and DHW demands, there is no technology with such potential and development for space cooling. In this paper, a new concept of combining radiative cooling and solar thermal collection, the Radiative Collector and Emitter (RCE), through the idea of an adaptive cover, which uses different material properties for each functionality, is for the first time experimentally tested and proved. The RCE relies on an adaptive cover that uses different material properties for each functionality: high spectral transmittance in the solar radiation band and very low spectral transmittance in the infrared band during solar collection mode, and high spectral transmittance in the atmospheric window wavelength during radiative cooling mode. Experiments were performed during the summer period in Lleida (Dry Mediterranean Continental climate). The concept was proved, demonstrating the potential of the RCE to heat up water during daylight hours and to cool down water during the night. Daily/nightly average efficiencies up to 49% and 32% were achieved for solar collection and radiative cooling, respectively.
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