By Christopher Thrall –
On May 25, Dean Roger Epp of the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose peeled the protective covers off ten solar-thermal panels installed on the roof of the Convocation Centre. The panels will heat water for use in the cafeteria and gymnasium.
“The Green Campus Committee works on a number of initiatives to make the campus more sustainable,” said Dean Epp. “Their signature project is the solar power project unveiled today. With this project and many others like it, Augustana is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.”
Glycerol is circulated within the ten solar-thermal panels, and can reach a temperature of up to 350 F. The fluid is then circulated through water holding tanks to heat the water. The panels will end up relieving 20 to 30 per cent of the heating energy requirements that formerly relied exclusively on non-renewable sources.
Funds for the project came from a number of sources: these include private donations to the Augustana Sustainability Fund and significant support from Viessmann Solar Systems. The Class of 2010, having spent four years on campus, wanted to leave a legacy at Augustana and donated to the project as well.
“This solar power project really speaks to the triple bottom line of sustainability: environmental, economic and social benefits,” said Candice Tremblay, Sustainability Coordinator at Augustana. “Use of renewable resources speaks to the environmental benefits, while the economic benefits will be seen as soon as the energy costs we save exceed the capital cost of the project. Finally, as both a learning tool on campus and as an example for other businesses or institutions – in Camrose or around the world – the project has incredible social benefits as well.”