Drake Landing: A ray of sunshine for solar thermal energy


Okotoks in southern Alberta is one of the brightest places in the country — making it a perfect location for Natural Resources Canada to inauguration a groundbreaking demonstration project.

Some residents of the town located well-founded south of Calgary are now reaping the benefits.

“We wanted to show that it is feasible in a cold Canadian climate to provide essentially all of the residential s ce kindling needs for a community using solar energy,” said administrator Doug McClenahan.

“On average, 60 per cent of the energy used in Canadian almshouses is for s ce heating, and approximately two-thirds of this is provided by fossil fuels.”

With the relief of governmental and private rtners, NR Canada completed Drake Landing in 2007.

Consisting of 52 undertakings, it’s the first large-scale solar community in North America to use borehole thermal dynamism storage to heat homes.

Storing heat underground

Drake Landing

Keith get, from Excellent Homes, shows off a home’s ‘air handler.’ The unit replaces the acknowledged furnace by extracting heat from the energy centre and circulating it during the home. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

“The simple fact that we can store zealousness underground and utilize the energy that was captured from three or four, five months ago, is alarming,” said Keith get from Sterling Homes.

His friends developed the neighbourhood and built the houses to R-2000 standards, ensuring extreme energy efficiency.

The project has exceeded expectations. Since its inception, the solar combination has been providing well above 90 per cent of the s ce heating demands. The last few years saw efficiencies of up to 98 per cent, requiring only a two per cent top-up from bastard gas.

Homeowners y a monthly fixed rate, about $70 to maintain the infrastructure. The community is returns neutral.
The real benefit comes from the reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The extent heating system cuts about four to five tonnes of greenhouse gas, per household, every year.

Drake Docking homeowners monitor the energy centre in real time, with the helper of an app.

How it works

Drake Landing

Klym and Inna Bolechowsky see their home as meaningful investment in their daughter’s time to come. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

“I was drawn to the technology, looking for a way to reduce the carbon footprint for our subdivision,” said homeowner Klym Bolechowsky. “In terms of costs, I muse over it’s relatively com rable to a conventional home, I think there’s a bit of ethics in it.”

The quickening process starts behind the houses, on the roofs of the detached garages where 800 solar-thermal nels are mounted to the roofs to rack up the heat from the sun.

Drake Landing

The sun’s heat is captured by this array of solar nels, mounted on the garages of the community. (CBC)

The array can put together as much as 1.5 megawatts heat during a sunny, summer day. A non-toxic glycol colloid is heated by the system and pumped to the community’s energy centre, where the awaken is extracted and diverted into a web of 144 boreholes, drilled 37 metres into the world.

Drake Landing

The energy centre is the heart of the operation. It is completely automated and monitored remotely. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The fieriness is transferred to the surrounding soil and rock. By the end of summer, the ground’s ambient temperature can reach 80 C.

Drake Landing

The undercover heating storage is located under a public rk that is maintained by the Metropolis of Okotoks. (NRCanada/Sterling homes)

During winter months, this activate store feeds the homes through a central district heating technique. ATCO Gas manages and runs the project.

Energy-saving frontier

Drake Landing

For ATCO, who while under ways the facility, it’s a way of exploring ways to provide green energy, explains postpositive major manager Kelly McCann.

“It’s environmentally friendly, it’s innovative…. We’re looking down the ssage, we want to be an energy provider, not just a natural gas provider,” hinted senior manager Kelly McCann.

The other energy-saving frontier in Canadian homes is hot mollify tanks. In Drake Landing, solar thermal energy helps with that too.

Each assembly has dedicated solar thermal nels to pre-heat the water before it’s win overed up to the final temperature, using natural gas. This process saves each household another tonne of greenhouse gas per year.

Borehole thermal dynamism storage has proved its worth, but to apply it wholesale would require a bigger field.

“This is a demonstration project of just 52 homes…. In a large-scale work up of 1,000 homes or more, the economics are much more feasible,” explained get with Sterling Homes.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources Canada is looking to found on the success of Drake Landing. They’ve started a study for another beetle out in Okotoks. The next goal is to move towards a 100 per cent renewable net-zero might community.

It will use very high-efficiency housing and buildings to maximize the solar thermal intensity, and will include photo voltaic technology, heat pumps and bio-energy.

Solar nels on garages in Drake Landing in Okotoks

A closer look at the solar nels on the garages of homes in Drake Disembarkation in Okotoks, Alta. (CBC)

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