Northwest/Arctic Region installs honeycomb solar hot water system
The Northwest/Arctic region recently installed a honeycomb solar hot water system on the roof of the Regional Administration Building as part of the “green proving ground” program and to support the agency’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. The honeycomb solar panels are a thermal system that uses the sun to heat water for use in the building. The technology is designed to help GSA meet the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) that requires that 30% of GSA’s hot water demand be met with solar hot water where cost effective. The honeycomb panels look like the name implies – there are crystal hexagonal “lenses” that focus the sun’s rays to amplify the energy. This type of collector panels works more effectively in diffuse light and in cold and temperate climate zones such as the Pacific Northwest. The system will be operational in May of FY 2013 and will be providing hot water for the building’s cafeteria and supplying domestic hot water. The system is also capable of providing secondary preheating loop to the building’s hydronic system / boilers. The energy delivered by these panels will be metered to show the actual performance of the system to demonstrate cost effectiveness and analyzed by the National Research Laboratory. If this technology proves to be viable in the northwest as one that pays back within the lifetime of the system, then it is likely to be deployed in other areas to meet the EISA requirement.