Colby Co. provided engineering design and analysis of solar hot water heating systems to the Maine Army National Guard for four of their buildings which total 120,000 SF. The buildings included an office, exercise facility, a maintenance garage and an aircraft hangar. The analysis involved equipment sizing, load estimating, cost estimating and system life cycle cost analysis to determine the payback period of the systems. Fully engineered designs for systems with attractive payback periods were provided, including stamped engineering drawings, specifications and cost estimates. Each system was sized to meet the specific needs of the building and its occupants.
In general, the systems consisted of 4-8 panels, a solar hot water storage tank, pump package, control package, safety device and associated piping and appurtenances. The solar hot water systems were designed to be integrated with existing hot water systems fired from natural gas fuel. The approach to the design was to “preheat” the incoming water with the solar hot water system to maximize the systems potential to produce hot water. Energy metering was incorporated into the design to allow for measurement and verification of energy production goals. The energy metering was designed to interface with existing building management systems for seamless integration and ease of operation.