Energy Award

Taking A Shine To New Project
By Bill Brooks, Calgary Sun – April 3, 2005

Thomas Edison was one of the first intellects to warn of the long-term effects, and costs, of traditional energy sources. As we all know, it costs more to heat our homes, and greenhouse gas emissions are of global concern.

Leave it to good old Alberta know-how to address greenhouse gas emissions. The first large-scale seasonal storage solar heating community in North America, Drake Landing in Okotoks, was unveiled at a press conference this past Wednesday. Sen. Tommy Banks joined forces with Ed Stelmach, Alberta Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, Okotoks Mayor Bill McAlpine, Ald. Joe Ceci, Atco Gas president Jerome Engler, Sterling Homes general manager Bill Bobyk, United Communities project manager Tyler Stevenson and Sterling manager of special projects and product development Keith Paget, to unveil the environmentally friendly development.

The state-of-the-art community will utilize a large-scale solar-heating system capable of supplying more than 90% of the space-heating requirements for 52 new homes. Roughly 80% of residential greenhouse gas emissions in Canada come from space and domestic hot-water heating. The Drake Landing Solar Community will reduce GHG emissions for each house by five tonnes per year. Do the math. That works out to be 260 tonnes per year!

Approximately 800 solar collectors will be mounted on the roofs of the interconnected garages and breezeways, generating up to 1.5 megawatts of thermal power. In the summer, solar energy will be collected and stored in a "borehole field" and in the winter, heat will be extracted from the field and delivered to the homes as hot water through underground, insulated pipes. Each home will use 30% less energy than conventionally heated homes.

Sterling Homes will begin construction of the Drake Landing homes next week with showhomes open in July.