06/07/2004

The Power of Solar

Using Your Walls to Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

PHOTO COURTESY OF CONSERVAL ENGINEERING INC.

The solar heating/ventilation system at South Dakota's Rapid City Community Center ensures indoor air quality.

Solar in Application

 

The solar heating and ventilation system at South Dakota’s Rapid City Community Center (pictured above) embodies architectural appeal while ensuring indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

 

The architects at Rapid City, SD-based Thurston Design Group specified a Solarwall heating and ventilation system for two new community center complexes in Rapid City, SD. Their goal was to use a building integrated system that would provide ventilation air to the facility, while minimizing heating costs. To maintain a consistent appearance on all eight walls, the same cladding was used on all the walls, but only the two south-facing walls have perforations to perform as solar heaters.

 

The end result of the project was:

  • Improved indoor air quality.
  • Lower heating costs due to reduced energy consumption.
  • An aesthetically eye-catching building.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) calls transpired solar collectors “the most reliable, best-performing, and lowest-cost solar heating systems for commercial and industrial buildings available on the market today.”

 

Transpired solar collectors (solar heating and ventilation systems that perform like heaters but resemble conventional metal cladding) are improving indoor air quality, saving money, and reducing energy costs for building owners across North America, Europe, and Asia. Years of research have facilitated a completely new approach to solar heating: an approach that is simple, inexpensive, highly efficient, and can be seamlessly integrated with many architectural styles.

 

Transpired solar collector systems are similar to other metal walls and possess all the benefits of metal cladding, such as strength, durability, and aesthetic versatility – yet, they also have the additional advantages of improving indoor air quality while decreasing energy bills and CO2 emissions. As ASHRAE states, the best way to avoid illness due to poor indoor air quality is to increase the volume of fresh air entering a building. But, the negative impact of uncontrolled outdoor air is increased heating costs. Transpired solar collectors solve this problem by using solar energy to preheat ventilation air.

 

The concept is straightforward and efficient. Perforated metal cladding is used to draw in heated fresh air off the surface of south-facing walls, where it can then be distributed throughout the building as pre-heated ventilation air. The genius of the all-metal transpired system is in the panel’s fundamental simplicity: With no moving parts, solar energy is used to heat fresh air, which is then brought into the ventilation system. It is easily integrated into new construction or during a retrofit, and fan units can be supplied if the existing system is inadequate or unavailable.

Solar heating and ventilation systems are suitable for a wide variety of applications, such as manufacturing, industrial, and municipal buildings. And they’ve already been installed at facilities such as Ford Motor Co.; General Motors; Federal Express; Bombardier; NASA; Goodyear Tire; the United States Army; and the Cities of Toronto, Rapid City, Calgary, Minneapolis, and many others in over 20 countries. It is technology that is tried, tested, and proven to generate successful results. The concept of using solar cladding to produce free heat and ventilation air has generated tremendous recognition from the building community, garnering numerous honors and awards from the U.S. DOE, Natural Resources Canada, ASHRAE, the Toronto Construction Association, Popular Science magazine, R&D magazine, and more.

 

Typical energy savings are in the range of two to four therms per square foot of solar cladding per year. This translates into a dollar savings of $2 to $6 per square foot each and every year, depending on fuel costs. Additionally, there are numerous tax incentives and grants available for companies and municipalities installing solar heating and ventilation systems. Some states, such as Illinois, offer grants of up to 50 percent of the total cost for businesses installing renewable energy systems. Also, the federal government offers an additional 10-percent corporate tax credit, thereby making the purchase of a system even more cost-effective.

 

Now, building owners have a choice: a conventional wall with no payback; or a high-performance metal wall with a payback, a green image, and the ability to improve indoor air quality. The solution should be obvious – put those metal walls to work and get green back!

 

Victoria Hollick is a technical writer at Toronto, ON-based Conserval Engineering Inc. (www.solarwall.com).

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Yaskawa drives offer quality performance for air handlers and cooling towers on the roof to secondary chilled water pumps in the basement

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Yaskawa drives offer quality performance for air handlers and cooling towers on the roof to secondary chilled water pumps in the basement

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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