Solar Wall

Did You Know? . . . Among other energy efficient features, the Water Treatment Plant in Athabasca sports a “solar wall” that helps to heat the building with sun-warmed ventilation air.

 
The south-facing wall of the Aspen Regional Water Treatment Plant in Athabasca includes a black, "building-integrated" section designed to ventilate sun-warmed air into the building.

Solar Wall, Water Treatment Plant

Among other energy efficient features, the Aspen Regional Water Treatment Plant in Athabasca sports a south-facing “solar wall” that helps to heat the building with sun-warmed ventilation air.

“We’re using the power of sunlight to lower the need for heaters in the building,” says Athabasca County Manager Gary Buchanan, presently the acting CAO for the water plant. “The sun shines on the wall cladding and heats the air next to air intakes. The cladding is perforated, allowing the air to be drawn in to the building.”

The system is integrated into the structure of the building and requires no maintenance. It is designed to last for about 30 years. The solar wall is just one of the features of the plant that contributes to a reduction in the overall electrical bill.

“Every little bit helps with the thermal efficiency of the building,” says Gary. “We’re looking at all levels of energy efficiency because every nickel you save adds up to a dollar.”

Some of the features involve low level efficiencies, like the building’s low-powered lighting system and the timed, automatic lights in the washrooms and hallways.

“Some are more active,” Gary explains. “For example, a computerized system monitors our electrical loads. When the electric rates are lower, the pump will activate and pump water into the plant from the reservoir. When the system senses that the rates are higher, it shuts the pump off. The reservoir provides us with that flexibility.”

The plant is automated with a variety of controls that continually monitor everything from the electrical systems, to ambient air control, to the chemical efficiencies of the water treatment processes.

“This water treatment plant is one of the most modern in the province,” says Gary.

The building-integrated solar wall is a notable feature of the Aspen Regional Water Treatment Plant and is a contributing factor in the overall energy efficiency of the building.


Back to main page

Text-Size: AAA