The Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, Alberta, sports North America’s first residential, seasonal-storage, solar-thermal district heating system.
When homeowners begin moving into the Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, Alberta, in early 2006, they will usher in what many hope will be a new trend in housing developments. All 52 homes in Drake Landing, developed by the Calgary-based Sterling Group of Companies, will meet the R-2000 program requirements (reducing energy use by about 30% compared to conventional homes) and will be certified to the highest level in the Built Green™ Alberta program. They will also employ low-flow fixtures and appliances, use collected rainwater for irrigation, and rely on solar hot water panels to supply 60% of domestic hot water needs. Most exceptional, however, is the community’s heating system: the homes in Drake Landing will share North America’s first residential, seasonal-storage, solar-thermal district heating system.
About 25,000 ft2
) of solar collectors mounted on the south sides of the development’s garages will generate up to 5.1 million Btu per hour (1.5 MW) of thermal power on a typical sunny day. During the summer, this heat will be stored in a borehole field under the community park. The field, which includes 144 holes each drilled 120 feet (37 meters) deep, is covered by sand, high-density R-40 insulation, a waterproof membrane, clay, and other landscaping materials, according to Mike Noble, president and CEO of EnerWorks, Inc., which supplied the solar thermal collector technology for the project. The ground in this area is expected to reach 176°F (80°C) by the end of each summer.