SolarWall solar air heating systems have been installed on several high-rise residential buildings in Canadian cities including Toronto
Innovative HVAC systems were everywhere at Greenbuild. From attic ventilation fans that run off solar panels to solar air heating systems for high-rise residential buildings, there were dozens of options for homebuilders looking for ways to show their green and keep energy bills low.
Staying Warm With “Hyper-Heating” this Winter
If you’re building in cold climates, an efficient heating system is a necessity, “hyper-heating” is even better. At Greenbuild, Mitsubishi Electric introduced the “Hyper-Heating Inverter (H2i) MXZ multi-zone outdoor heat pump for residential applications.
The 19 SEER system is capable of connecting up to eight indoor unites, making the system ideal for whole-home heating (and cooling), according to Kevin Miskewicz, senior manager of commercial marketing for Mitsubishi. nbsp; Available from 22K to 54K Btu/h capacities, the H2i MXZ makes heating and cooling in extreme conditions particularly cost-effective. The multi-zone units feature 100 percent heating capacity at 5 degrees Fahrenheit and guaranteed operation down to minus-13 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit is Energy Star qualified.
The heat pump allows individual zone control and flexibility with ductless and ducted indoor units, including the H2i MSZ-FH model, which features “i-see Sensor 3D” 3D heat imaging technology that automatically scans to locate people in the room and delivers the right amount of conditioned air needed to meet the desired temperature.
H2i MXZ is also compatible with the M-NET control adapter, part of the CITY MULTI Controls Network (CMCN). Consisting of remote controls, centralized controls, Building Management System (BMS) interfaces and integrated software, the CMCN provides control for each zone of a home with options for individual or centralized temperature control.
Solar Air Heating for High-Rise Residential
Conserval earned a lot of attention at Greenbuild with its SolarWall that preheats ventilation air and is a unique architectural feature for MDUs. SolarWall is a perforated metal wall with a sealed perimeter that absorbs the heat from the sun’s rays and delivers it to the inbound airstream of a standard building air handler, preheating the air and reducing the energy load on the unit.
The walls replace part of a building’s standard cladding, and can be integrated into the building’s exterior design, says Todd Marron, Conserval’s national account manager. In doing so it reduces electricity use, CO2 production and improves indoor air quality.
“The beauty of the system is it’s not complex. We’re making hot air out of hot air; it’s an incredibly efficient system,” Marron says. “When you look at a PV panel is around 15 percent [efficient], solar water heating is about 25 percent, the SolarWall is 80 percent efficiency.”
The system can heat air to 100 degrees Fahrenheit above the ambient temperature on a sunny day.
SolarWalls have been installed on several high-rise residential buildings in Canadian cities including Toronto, and Marron says they are a straightforward option for urban MDU builders.
“Instead of being handcuffed by rectangles with the panel on the wall or roof, we can work into any architectural feature. Architects can do all kinds of elaborate things with our system,” Marron says.
The cost of the system is also low when priced against other types of building ventilation or cladding. “It serves as the wall of the building. For a cost perspective, the architect would remove the wall and install this and the paybacks are quick,” Marron says.
On new construction Marron estimates that ROI would be between 25 and 40 percent a year depending on the cladding it’s replacing, with a two-to-three year payback.
Solar Attic Fans
The Solaro Aire solar-powered attic fan comes with a built-in 20-watt solar panel and an aluminum or polymer fan blade in high or low profile flashings for all types of roofing materials.
“For the cost, typically $1,000 installed, you have a big impact on lowering the energy costs of the home,” says Dennis Grubb, CEO of Solaro Energy.
The typical attic in the summer can get as high as 140 degrees, and works its way through the insulation of the house, causing the homeowner to turn up the air-conditioning. The Solaro Aire moves 900 CFM of air per minute, cooling the attic and decreasing the electrical load on the air-conditioner. Grubb says the fan also makes insulation more efficient in the winter by removing moisture.
“If you can take the moisture out of an attic you reduce the humidity level which greatly improves the efficiency of the insulation. By simply moving air, you remove moisture and improve the R-value of the insulation,” Grubb says.
A home that costs $150 to cool in the summer would cost $100 to cool with the attic fan running, Grubb says.
Grubb says the fans are easy to install and do not require a roofing contractor.
The fan housing is made from aircraft grade aluminum alloy and the PV panel is polycrystalline component. The fan uses a brushless motor and precision balanced blades that are shaped like scoops and grab more air than standard fan blades. The rounded cowl beneath the blade also helps to pull more air through the blades. The fan has a 30-year-plus lifespan, Grubb says.
The rounded cowling component takes the air being sucked in from the attic into the fan, hits the rounded surface and exits under the hood. By using this technology we can increase performance over competitor exponentially.
“A product is not green if it does not have a long lifecycle,” Grubb says.
The Solaro Aire fan comes in 15 different models, some with larger PV panels, or with panels that tilt. The fans are also made in the United States.
Radiant Floor That Self-regulates
Step Warmfloor says its radiant floor mat system uses less energy than hydronic or cable heating systems while maintaining lower ambient temperatures and taking the chill out of cold morning floors.
Step Warmfloor electric radiant floor heating 12-inch mats can be used for floor warming or as the primary heat source and can be installed under most floor coverings, including tile, stone, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate and are rated to be used under carpet. Heating bathroom floors or larger areas increases comfort and reduces heating bills, according to Step Warmfloor president Monica Irgens. The mats cover 60 percent of the floor thereby evenly warming the floor with a lower temperature. The self-regulating elements act as a floor sensor, supplying more wattage when cold and less wattage as they warm up. Low voltage systems are available for 120v, 208v or 240v systems. The self-regulating properties of the heating mat makes the heating solution extremely energy efficient compared to other heating sources, using an average of 4.5 watts per square foot versus 9.3 watts per sq. ft. for hydronic heating and 11.2 watts per sq. ft. for cable heating systems. Step Warmfloor recommends maintain spacing between element strips at 2-3 inches for even heat distribution. The system is also LEED certified.