Solar Hot Water at ACNW
Based on the successful performance of that initial trial in helping to offset water heating costs in Crosby Lodge, we then went on to increase our solar water heating capacity with multiple installations in 2011, including the south-facing roofs of both Crosby Lodge (20 panels) and Blandin Hall (dining hall/office; 7 panels). These subsequent installations were made possible through grants received from the US Department of Energy and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The type of solar water heating installed here are Viessmann active, closed-loop flat panel solar hot water heating systems. Because of our Minnesota location (cold winters and less than optimal solar radiation potential), we supplement our solar hot water heating with traditional propane water heaters to meet demand.
Hot water needs in these two buildings is quite sizeable. Crosby Lodge, our largest dormitory/classroom building, houses up to 112 students and each of the 14 dorm rooms has a private bathroom. Blandin Hall houses our dining room, offices and kitchen. Showers, handwashing, dishwashing, food preparation/cooking, visitor/staff restrooms and housekeeping all contribute to a high demand for hot water.
Our active, closed-loop flat panel solar hot water heating systems will cut our water heating energy propane needs by roughly 60%. By eliminating that much fossil fuel usage, we further decrease our carbon footprint and come closer to our goal of greatly reducing, wherever possible, our CO2 contribution to climate change.