Innovative PV System Tackles Home Emissions & Energy Use

by Olivier Benny

About Solar Decathlon Finalist TeamMTL’s Innovative PV System

Working towards tangible solutions for reducing household emissions as well as energy use is PV system developer TeamMTL. As an interdisciplinary student-driven collaboration between McGill and Concordia Universities, TeamMTL takes on the ambition of designing and building a net-zero energy capable urban home titled the Deep Performance Dwelling (DPD). Using a fabric-first approach, as well as passive house-inspired design, the DPD’s construction reduces energy needs and emissions before considering the renewable energy sourcing. The DPD incorporates an adjustable rooftop Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPV/T) system that provides the entirety of the house’s required energy. The PV system’s heat capture from the photovoltaics will be converted using an air-to-water heat exchanger that supplies the house’s hydronic heating system, as well as domestic hot water needs. This helps to cool the photovoltaics, allowing for higher efficiency of operation. The DPD is estimated to consume 70-80% less energy than conventional homes, presenting a low impact design solution to growing housing demands. What makes TeamMTL’s home deep performing is not only its energy reduction, but also its adaptable architecture made to be flexible for various contemporary living and working arrangements, as well as its integrated and interactive media platform that translates the building’s performance data into meaningful aesthetic experiences.
Team MTL PV System Replica

Net-Zero Energy Design, PV Systems and Canada’s Housing Stock

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), an institutional sponsor and supporter of TeamMTL, holds a strategic vision towards the incorporation of Net-Zero Energy (NZE) Homes into the Canadian housing stock as one path of reducing energy-use in Canada, where housing accounts for about 17% of national secondary energy use. (see Colantonio) Research partners of NRCan are working towards the advancement and support of market viable technologies, integrated energy design processes, and field trials of new products, in addition to creating common performance standards for NZE homes and communities. Newly built homes combining NZE design (passive solar design, high quality insulation, innovative construction and prefabrication techniques, etc.) with Photovoltaic systems set precedent in achieving the lowest energy consumption and highest possible EnerGuide rating when compared to alternative integrations like envelope upgrades, reduction of base loads, Solar DHW, and Solar Combi. CanmetENERGY estimates 190,000 new homes will be added to the Canadian housing stock per year, indicating potential for reducing energy use and mitigating future emissions produced by residential buildings. (Colantonio) With the world population growing at an increasing rate, especially in cities, the DPD presents a tangible solution to address pressing needs of providing housing in a sustainable fashion. In addition to NRCan support, the Societe d’Habition du Quebec recognizes this growing problem and has extended institutional support to TeamMTL and the DPD to confirm its priority in supporting the development of affordable and sustainable housing solutions for the province.

Solar Decathlon China Competition and Beyond

TeamMTL formed as an entrant to the Solar Decathlon China Competition, which will take place summer 2018 in the solar capital of China, Dezhou. The competition is an international showcase of academic innovation pertaining to the design and construction of solar-powered homes. As the only Canadian team in the competition, TeamMTL is honored to be Canada’s sole representative to this prestigious competition. We are extremely proud to be a small part of Canada’s sincere commitment to addressing climate change and innovation in the clean tech industry.

The team recently held a kiosk at the Americana Trade Show in Montreal’s Palais des Congrès, where the DPD was showcased using traditional representational techniques as well as a virtual reality and digital walkthrough (with industry partner Visualive). TeamMTL will be presenting the project during the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Architecture’s 150th Festival of Architecture in Ottawa, May 24-27. The team plans to construct and display the DPD in Montreal this coming summer, beginning in May, in honor of city’s 375th celebration and the countries 150th anniversary before dismantling it in the fall and preparing for shipping to China at the end of 2017. The competition takes pace in July 2018. For more information on TeamMTL’s design, progress, and upcoming appearances please see TeamMTL.

Ref: Colantonio, Tony, “Canadian Approaches to Energy Efficient Housing.” CanmetENERGY, Natural Resources Canada.

Guest article written by TeamMTL Communications Lead Natalie Manukian. For inquiries relating to this article, please contact Natalie. To learn more about Targray’s PV material solutions for the international solar industry, visit the Solar Division home page.
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