Materials DrakeLandingAerial.jpg

Published on June 27th, 2008 | by Philip Proefrock

40

Community Solar Power

Drake Landing Aerial
A community in Canada has an unusual form of solar power that can provide over 90% of the annual heating and hot water needs for the homes, despite being situated in a cold Alberta location where winter temperatures can reach -33 degrees C (-27 F).

The Drake Landing Solar Community collects solar energy in a heat storage fluid through an array of solar panels on the roof of each home and covering all of the garages at the back of each home. The heated fluid is transferred to a neighborhood energy center, and then into the ground beneath an insulated layer, where the heat is stored in the earth.

Combined together, the 52 home community is able to collect and store enough energy from the sun during the summer that the ground storage temperatures reach 80 degrees C (176 F). This heat is sufficiently insulated beneath the ground that it can be drawn from throughout the winter to provide heat and hot water.

The homes in the community are moderately sized, ranging from 1,492 to 1,664 square feet, and are insulated to a level 30% higher than the average home in Canada in order to keep the energy needs low enough to work with the system. The homes are also closely located to one another. This provides a more walkable neighborhood, as well as reducing the lengths that the fluid for the solar heating system needs to travel.

Entire Neighborhood Has Shared Solar Heating

The system works in part due to the scale of the project utilizing the combined capacity of the entire community. A similar system scaled down to a single family home version would not work as efficiently simply because too much heat would be lost. But the scale of a system for 52 households makes this a feasible project.

Community heating system diagram

While the technology is similar to a ground source heat pump, which relies on a relatively stable, constant temperature of the ground, the Drake Landing Community is actually storing heat throughout the summer and then relying on that banked heat during the winter.

Solar heating is a more exciting prospect than solar generation of electricity because heating is a much larger percentage of a home’s total energy use (60% for space heating, 20% for water heating, and 20% for appliances, lights, and other electrical loads).

Related articles on Green Building Elements:

Geothermal Energy and Ground Source Heat Pumps

GreenBuildingTalk: Solar Hot Water and Heating — Is it Right for You?

Traditional Neighborhood Development and LEED Go Hand in Hand

Green Communities, Part 1: New Urbanism

images via: DLSC

Pet Calendar, July 12-18

Oakland Tribune July 11, 2008 | Gary Bogue Pet Calendar SATURDAY ADOPTIONS — 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. — TVAR; Pleasanton Farmers Market, First and West Angela streets, Pleasanton; dogs/cats.

– 10 a.m.-1 p.m. — Siberian Husky Rescue; Brentwood Petco, 5481 Lone Tree Way; Siberian Huskies.

– 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Safe Cat Foundation; Pet Care Depot, 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon; cats.

– 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — ARF; Nitro Dog, 61 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette; cats.

– 11 a.m.-2 p.m. — TVAR; Pet Food Express, 609 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville; dogs/cats.

– 11 a.m.-3 p.m. — Golden State Greyhound; Broadway Plaza Shopping Center (at Macy’s Court), Walnut Creek; greyhounds. go to web site pet food express

– 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Nine Lives; 2706 Pinole Valley Road, Pinole Valley Shopping Center; dogs/cats.

– Noon-3 p.m. — Contra Costa Animal Services; Shelter Dog Adoption Day, Pet Food Express, 5404 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord; dogs.

– Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.R.P.; PetSmart, 4655 Century Blvd., Pittsburg; dogs/cats.

– Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.L.O.; Pet Food Express, 3448 Deer Valley Road Slatten Ranch Plaza, Antioch; cats/dogs.

– Noon-3 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 2005 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon; cats.

– Noon-3 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 11976 Dublin Road, Dublin; cats.

– Noon-3 p.m. — Safe Cat Foundation; Nicia’s Pet Depot, 21001 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon; cats.

– Noon-4 p.m. — Pets & Pals; Pet Food Express, 5404 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord; cats. More at www.petspals.org.

– Noon-4 p.m. — SPCA; Petco, 1825 Salvio St., Concord; dogs/ cats.

– Noon-4 p.m. — TVAR; PetSmart, 6960 Amador Plaza Road, Dublin; cats.

– Noon-4 p.m. — TLCC; Pet Food Express, 785 Oak Grove Road, Concord; cats.

– 1-4 p.m. — Bee Rescue; Holistic Hound, Walnut Square, Berkeley (Behind Peet’s); cats/kittens.

– 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 2158 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill; cats.

– 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Petco, 1301 S. California St., Walnut Creek; cats.

– 1-5 p.m. — Safe Cat Foundation; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

– 2-5 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 3610 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; cats.

– 2-5 p.m. — TVAR; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

– 3-6 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 420 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito; cats. this web site pet food express

SUNDAY ADOPTIONS — Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.R.P.; Pet Food Express, 5829 Lone Tree Way, Slatten Ranch, Antioch; dogs/cats.

– Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.L.O.; PetSmart, 4655 Century Blvd., Pittsburg; cats/dogs.

– Noon-4 p.m. — ARF; Molly’s Pup-Purr-ee, 425 Hartz Ave., Danville; cats.

– Noon-4 p.m. — SPCA; Petco, 1825 Salvio St., Concord; dogs/ cats.

– Noon-4 p.m. — TVAR; PetSmart, 6960 Amador Plaza Road, Dublin; cats.

– Noon-5 p.m. — Second Chance Cat Rescue; Petco, 2310 South Shore Center, Alameda; cats.

– 12:30-4:30 p.m. — FFF; Pet Food Express, 785 Oak Grove Road, Concord; cats.

– 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 2158 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill; cats.

– 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Petco, 1301 S. California St., Walnut Creek; cats.

– 1-4 p.m. — FCF; Pet Food Express, 2220 Mountain Blvd. # 122, Montclair; cats.

– 2-5 p.m. — Safe Cat Foundation; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

– 2-5 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 3610 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; cats.

– 2-5 p.m. — TVAR; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

MISCELLANEOUS — ARF Adoptions — 3-7 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; noon-4:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek; cats/dogs.

– Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society — Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays; 2700 Ninth St., Berkeley; 510-845-7735. Pet Loss Support Group every third Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. Call Roy at above number for more details. Drop- ins OK.

– Martinez Animal Services — Cat adoptions daily, PetSmart, 4566 Century Way, Pittsburg. Cats, rabbits daily at PetSmart, 1700 Willow Pass Road, Concord. Cats daily at PetSmart, 3700 Klose Way, Building 4, Richmond. Cats/kittens daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Rodies, 8863 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton.

– Valley Humane Society — Call 925-426-8656 for details; www.valleyhumanesociety.org.

SPAY/NEUTER HELP — Low-cost spay/neuter clinic — ARF’s shelter, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek. Appointment: Call 925-296-3105, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays to schedule. Prices: Visit www.arf.net/resources/ clinic.html.

– Low-cost — Spay/neuter clinic at Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Thursdays for qualified residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Cats: $20 spay/neuter; dogs: $40 spay/neuter. Appointments only by calling 510-845-3633. Feral Fix Day is third Thursday of each month. Traps are available to rent.

– Spay/neuter assistance — Low-cost vet referrals and financial assistance for Contra Costa County residents. Contra Costa Humane Society, 925-279-2247.

– Free spay/neuter — For feral cats in East Contra Costa County by Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization (H.A.L.O.). They also have limited funds for free domestic cat spay/neuters for low- income families. Call voice mail at 925-473-4642, or visit www.eccchalo.org.

– Low-cost spay/neuter clinic — Financial assistance for low- income Alameda and Contra Costa counties residents. Tri-Valley SPCA Spay/Neuter Center, 4651 Gleason Drive, Dublin. Free spay/neuter for pit bulls. Appointments: 925-479-9674.

– No-cost — Feral cat trap rental and no-cost spay/neuter surgeries — For eligible feral cats, from East Bay SPCA to help reduce homeless cats in East Bay. For more information, Alameda and Contra Costa residents call 510-563-4635, or visit www.eastbayspca.org/resources. and click “The Feral Fix.” Send items at least a week in advance of publication to Gary’s Pet Calendar, c/o Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596- 8099; garybug@infionline.net.

Gary Bogue




MAKE SOLAR WORK FOR YOU!





Next, use your Solar Report to get the best quote!

Tags: , , , , , , ,


About the Author



  • JImmy Duke

    Wow, solar energy is SO cool…

    http://www.FireMe.to/udi

  • JImmy Duke

    Wow, solar energy is SO cool…

    http://www.FireMe.to/udi

  • Nonya Bizness

    t’s splld “stry” y trd.

  • Nonya Bizness

    t’s splld “stry” y trd.

  • Ben

    If you want to use the degrees symbol (°) hold down the ALT key and type in 248 (or 0176) on the keypad.

    Another way is to go to Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. Simply select the degrees symbol and copy and paste it. There are also lots of other useful symbols you can find there.

    Finally, if you are writing HTML directly, you can type in ° (not sure if that will show up in the comments though) where you want the degrees symbol, and it will show up when you browse to the page.

  • Ben

    If you want to use the degrees symbol (°) hold down the ALT key and type in 248 (or 0176) on the keypad.

    Another way is to go to Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. Simply select the degrees symbol and copy and paste it. There are also lots of other useful symbols you can find there.

    Finally, if you are writing HTML directly, you can type in ° (not sure if that will show up in the comments though) where you want the degrees symbol, and it will show up when you browse to the page.

  • Bob Wallace

    And costs, recovery time?

  • Bob Wallace

    And costs, recovery time?

  • http://automailer.com/tws/ physio

    What a great idea. Why don’t builders do this in all new developments? The government should do what it can to encourage this. We’d all be so much better off.

  • http://automailer.com/tws/ physio

    What a great idea. Why don’t builders do this in all new developments? The government should do what it can to encourage this. We’d all be so much better off.

  • Pingback: This Entire Neighborhood has Shared Solar Heating - The Environment Site Forums

  • http://greenbuildingelements.com Philip Proefrock

    I haven’t yet found any information about the payback period for this neighborhood. Since it is a pilot project, it’s likely to have greater startup costs, versus what future communities trying a system such as this might face.

  • http://greenbuildingelements.com Philip Proefrock

    I haven’t yet found any information about the payback period for this neighborhood. Since it is a pilot project, it’s likely to have greater startup costs, versus what future communities trying a system such as this might face.

  • http://www.paintballrepublic.com Colin Smith

    Way to go Canada!!! Behold the rest of you people the way of the future. :)

  • http://www.paintballrepublic.com Colin Smith

    Way to go Canada!!! Behold the rest of you people the way of the future. :)

  • Douglas Hvistendahl

    An inexpensive similar method can provide a small portion of the winter heat. We have a set of seven fans connected to a thermostat to blow summer air through the basement and up into the house. It cuts cooling costs (especially the first year). And after five years, the soil temperature has risen enough that we only turn on basement heat when it gets cold outside. This has made a noticable dent in fuel usage. Wing insulation outside the house is being added as time is available to reduce heat escape.

  • Douglas Hvistendahl

    An inexpensive similar method can provide a small portion of the winter heat. We have a set of seven fans connected to a thermostat to blow summer air through the basement and up into the house. It cuts cooling costs (especially the first year). And after five years, the soil temperature has risen enough that we only turn on basement heat when it gets cold outside. This has made a noticable dent in fuel usage. Wing insulation outside the house is being added as time is available to reduce heat escape.

  • http://properscale.blogspot.com Eric Orozco
  • http://properscale.blogspot.com Eric Orozco
  • Michele

    What affects does heating the ground do to the earth’s temp over time? Are we creating another problem by doing this vs. using “regular” solar power?

  • Michele

    What affects does heating the ground do to the earth’s temp over time? Are we creating another problem by doing this vs. using “regular” solar power?

  • kirkf

    Interesting setup.
    It looks expensive.

    One obvious difference between this and regular geothermal heating would be that regular geothermal will provide you with cooling all summer as well.

  • kirkf

    Interesting setup.
    It looks expensive.

    One obvious difference between this and regular geothermal heating would be that regular geothermal will provide you with cooling all summer as well.

  • Pingback: Top Nuclear Stories (June 27th - 30th) | The Energy Net

  • http://aol NABEEL ELTARABILY

    With the price of Gas at over $4.00 a gal. sure the heating oil is not far off that, It makes great sense to assume that Solar energy will be appealing to many people. I predict that many homes and buildings throu out the country will be decorated with solar collectors of various types. advise for design engineers, contractors, builders and developers ” have a head start and establish yourself in this huge upcoming market.

  • Pingback: Inhabitat » A Unique Solar Powered Community in Canada

  • Irfan
  • Irfan
  • http://www.thinkdwell.com Suzy

    Individuality is always lost in this type of community though. For most, it has never been an issue of paying for more square footage. Recently, that has been an issue due to the rising costs of energy. People will turn to smaller homes that are well designed to suit them specifically. It may sound like a good idea to share the expenses of putting in this type of shared solar system, but when it needs to be repaired or replaced, each household must buck up the extra money to fund the project, regardless of whether or not they planned for such an expense. In this sense, this community has some fee structures like those of condominiums. People who purchase single family homes in the United States do so for the liberty and flexibility of being able to make choices for themselves. However, the advantages of this system are credited to its scale: the more hot water stored deep in the bore hole, the better it maintains its temperature. Why not take it a step further and share walls and floors with other ‘homes’, aka apartments. This step takes the actual living spaces and makes them more energy efficient, reducing the demand on the mechanical systems, thus saving energy.

    The issue at hand is that Americans do not prefer apartments to single family homes. Apparently, neither do the folks from this community in Alberta. A dwelling must be reliant on the sources that are available. Years ago, farm houses, and other detached residential structures were designed specifically to work with the amounts and types of resources that were readily available (firewood, peat, etc.). In the same light, years ago, people living in high density (comparable to our suburbs of today), lived in flats, apartments, or other multi-family structures simply because resources were more scarce in that location. Shared walls, floors and heat made it possible.

  • http://www.thinkdwell.com Suzy

    Individuality is always lost in this type of community though. For most, it has never been an issue of paying for more square footage. Recently, that has been an issue due to the rising costs of energy. People will turn to smaller homes that are well designed to suit them specifically. It may sound like a good idea to share the expenses of putting in this type of shared solar system, but when it needs to be repaired or replaced, each household must buck up the extra money to fund the project, regardless of whether or not they planned for such an expense. In this sense, this community has some fee structures like those of condominiums. People who purchase single family homes in the United States do so for the liberty and flexibility of being able to make choices for themselves. However, the advantages of this system are credited to its scale: the more hot water stored deep in the bore hole, the better it maintains its temperature. Why not take it a step further and share walls and floors with other ‘homes’, aka apartments. This step takes the actual living spaces and makes them more energy efficient, reducing the demand on the mechanical systems, thus saving energy.

    The issue at hand is that Americans do not prefer apartments to single family homes. Apparently, neither do the folks from this community in Alberta. A dwelling must be reliant on the sources that are available. Years ago, farm houses, and other detached residential structures were designed specifically to work with the amounts and types of resources that were readily available (firewood, peat, etc.). In the same light, years ago, people living in high density (comparable to our suburbs of today), lived in flats, apartments, or other multi-family structures simply because resources were more scarce in that location. Shared walls, floors and heat made it possible.

  • http://www.thinkdwell.com Suzy

    Great stuff! The individuality of each home is lost in the repetition of each unit, however.

  • http://www.thinkdwell.com Suzy

    Great stuff! The individuality of each home is lost in the repetition of each unit, however.

  • Pingback: Off-Grid.Net » Best kept secret . . a must read! -  Off-Grid - life unplugged: solar, wind, hydro, architecture, smallholdings, free stuff

  • jelly

    good plan

  • jelly

    good plan

  • Pingback: New, Cost Effective Solar Energy Devices from MIT – : climate change and environmental news

  • Pingback: New, Cost Effective Solar Energy Devices from MIT

  • Pingback: First Community Heated with Solar Power Built in Canada, Eh.

  • Pingback: A community in Canada Shares Solar « Teslas for Sustainable Society

  • Pingback: Real energy options | Mayor Troy

Back to Top ↑