Energy savings

Canadian researchers have proved that by combining direct solar collection and heat storage technology with existing structural insulated panel system (SIPS), energy consumption for space heating could be reduced by 48%.


Canadian researchers at the Alberta Research Council (ARC) have proved that by combining direct solar collection and heat storage technology with existing structural insulated panel system (SIPS), energy consumption for space heating could be reduced by 48%.


The study focused on measuring energy consumption during a peak energy load period from February 1 to May 15, 2005. ARC combined existing SIPS technology with thermal solar panels embedded in exterior walls to create a more energy efficient building envelope in a test module.


On average, 65% of Canadian home energy consumption goes to space heating. Another 20% goes to hot water generation, with 15% being used in the form of electricity.


The research was conducted using three one-room test modules. The first test module represented a standard home with walls made of 2″ x 6″ wood studs with R-20 batt insulation.


The second test module used SIPS technology – with walls made of six-inch PlastiSpan Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Insulation cores between two oriented strand board panels – an emerging technology in the construction market.


The third module used SIPS technology in combination with solar energy collection panels with direct heat storage ability. Energy meters were used to evaluate energy consumption. As compared to the standard module, the SIPS technology-based module used approximately 75% of the energy, while the SIPS and solar panel test module only used 52%.


Based on an average requirement of 115 GJ (gigajoules) of energy needed to heat a standard residential home (source: Natural Resources Canada), the average customer would save approximately 55 GJ using this combination of SIPS and solar thermal technology.