Rising utility costs have made reduction of energy consumption by public housing and multi-family residential housing facilities across North America a top priority of local management agencies. Because more than half of public housing units were built before 1970, and half of public housing are located in the coldest climate zones, achieving energy efficiency objectives in both old and new facilities is a significant challenge.
Solar air heating, once the domain of large industrial or commercial facilities, is now making inroads into the multi-family residential apartment sector as public housing facilities race to cut ballooning energy costs of more than $4 billion each year.
The $25 million, 180-unit "Bord de l'eau" project in Old Longueil, Quebec (a bedroom suburb of Montreal located on the St. Lawrence Seaway) is typical of today's new generation of LEED-compliant public housing facilities. In this project, architects leveraged the design simplicity of Matrix Energy's modular MatrixAir Delta roof-mounted arrays, integrating solar energy efficiency into the heating system of the entire complex.
"Using MatrixAirTM Delta will significantly reduce our environmental footprint - and heating costs - during the life of these buildings and facilitate our objective of achieving LEED ® Canada for Homes certification," said Sylvain Boily, executive director of OMH Longueuil, the Longueuil public housing authority.
In this project, rather than attempting manage a costly energy retrofit of the site's aging structures, OMH Longueuil opted instead to raze the existing buildings in order to pursue a brand new, state-of-the-art residential complex, using cutting edge building materials and energy efficiency technologies.
The new waterfront facility was designed entirely with LEED-oriented building materials and mechanical systems. The solar air heating system consists of more than 100 modules arrayed on the roof, optimizing the use of solar heat collected to pre-heats ventilation air, complementing rooftop air handlers and conventional heat recovery systems.
The Delta solar air heating system is used to preheat more than 25,000 CFM in fresh-air ventilation, serving both common spaces and individual apartments in the complex, a key requirement for LEED ® Canada for Homes certification. Because the system is designed to last over the entire life of the building and is maintenance-free, energy efficiency gains and lower operating costs are locked in.
The Delta solar heating system is an ideal air heating solution where a conventional MatrixAir wall-mounted solar air heating system is not practical due to poor building orientation, insufficient wall area, local bylaws and regulations or other obstacles. Aesthetics were a key consideration for Bord de l'eau project architects, located on a picturesque waterfront in Old Longueil, a designated historic district.
About Matrix Energy Inc.
Matrix Energy is the premier manufacturer of wall and roof-mounted solar air heating systems in North America. The Company applies state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technology to produce energy efficient, LEED compliant and ready-to-install solar air heating systems for new and retrofit construction projects in commercial, institutional, industrial and agricultural facilities.
Since 1990 Matrix has supplied over 450,000 ft2 of solar air heating collector area spanning hundreds of projects within the commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural markets totaling over 3,000,000 CFM of fresh air and nearly 8,000 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions each year.