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Case Study: Renewable Lifestyles Ltd. and Slemon Park Corporation In-Situ Performance Testing of Solar Air Heating Systems

Holland College’s research team and private sector collaborators have installed the Renewable Lifestyles solar air heating systems onto two Slemon Park residential units. Research data will be collected over a one year period. New solar gain technologies are being investigated, and comparisons are being made between the solar air heating systems and conventional heating systems.


Holland College and Slemon Park identified four homes with same heated living area, solar orientation, levels of building envelope insulation, and windows. One home was modified by having a Cansolair installed on a south facing exterior wall; one home was modified by having a Solarsheat 1500G installed on a south facing exterior wall; and the other two homes, which have conventional heat sources and equipment, serve as reference homes.

The thermal performance of the forced convection solar air heating units is being measured over the 2010/2011 heating season. Historical fuel consumption data for both homes will be evaluated and compared to the 2010/2011 data to determine the simple payback and return on investment of each unit.


This project is ongoing.

“Renewable Lifestyles Ltd. embraces this opportunity to showcase the performance of two of our solar air heating systems. The direct comparison of the avoided costs of heating the test buildings will better enable decisions to be made on which unit is best for Slemon Park; and perhaps other Islanders as well.”
Steve Howard, Renewable Lifestyles Ltd. www.renewablelifestyles.ca

“Slemon Park Corporation is proud to be partnering with Holland College and Renewable Lifestyles on this project. It will give us good indication of the potential for solar heat as a component of our energy requirements at Slemon Park.”
Shawn McCarvill CA, President, Slemon Park Corporation www.slemonpark.com

Case Study: Mr. Plumber and the Economic Case for Reducing Electric Water Heater Standby Losses

The relatively low initial cost of upright storage style residential electric water heaters makes them an attractive choice as a means to provide domestic hot water. Additionally, as their operation does not involve the combustion of fuels, they do not require on-site fuel storage or external venting.


Because water heaters maintain a specified volume of water at temperatures typically no less than 120 F (49 C), storage style water heaters continually lose heat through their internal insulation jacket (the space between the tank and the external metal casing). This heat loss, known as “standby loss”,is proportionate to the surface area of the tank, the temperature differential (i.e., the difference in temperature between the water and the ambient air), and the level of insulation of the internal jacket.

In response to the rising cost of conventional energy or by using renewable energy sources, manufacturers are producing water heaters with improved thermal storage characteristics. When standby losses are considered over the expected service life of a water heater, however, the cost of these losses can still exceed the initial cost of the water heater. The purpose of this project was to determine the economic viability of reducing the standby energy loss of a 151litre upright storage style residential electrical water heater by wrapping it with an after-market insulation jacket. Two types of jackets were used – a reflective insulation jacket and a fibreglass insulation jacket.


Each jacket was monitored over a seven-day period. The reflective insulation jacket reduced standby loss by 10.9 per cent, provided a simple payback of 3.1 years and a return on investment of 32.7 per cent. The fibreglass insulation jacket reduced standby loss by 33.9 per cent, provided a simple payback of 1.4 years and a return on investment of 70.1 per cent. While the economic case is strong for the reflective insulation jacket, it is considerably stronger for the fibreglass insulation jacket, therefore making it a better investment.

“At Mr. Plumber we are trying to do our part to protect the environment. We feel that every small step made by individuals and companies can make a collective difference.”
Glen Gardiner, Mr. Plumber/Blair LaPierre Inc. www.mrplumber.ca

140 Weymouth Street  •  Charlottetown, PE  •  Canada  •  C1A 4Z1  •  info@hollandcollege.com  •  1-800-446-5265