Click through to see the full press release with the finalists
In the summer of 2012, the McGill Energy Project (MEP) partnered with the Associate Director of Facilities, Buildings Operations & Development for McGill Residences, David Balcombe to search for an alternative way to produce hot water for summer occupants of three Upper Residence buildings (McConnell, Molson, and Gardner). Currently, the hot water heater operates on steam, which - while great in the winter - is inefficient in the summer when steam demand is low. Mr. Balcombe was interested in exploring the use of a thermal solar system, but was unsure of whether it would be feasible given the climate and buildings in question. The MEP set up and supported two for-credit applied student research projects to help inform this decision.
The first team, consisting of five bioresource engineering students, supervised by Dr. Grant Clark, used their year-long senior design project to assess various designs, run cost-benefit analyses, and specify details for suggested designs. They later submitted their work to the Scotiabank EcoLiving Student Leadership Award.
The second, a team of two chemical engineering students under the supervision of Dr. Sylvain Coulombe and his Ph.D student, Nathan Hordy, worked on a more specific, technical aspects of the project, modeling the system in detail to determine exactly how much energy could be saved.
Both teams worked closely with Mr. Balcombe and his staff, including active MEP organizer Tatjana Trebic, who was crucial to the success of the project. The final project reports are currently being reviewed by McGill Residences, and the information they provide will be used to assist facilities planning.
The submission has been named as one of three finalists in the EcoLiving Awards. The project will be showcased at a gala in Toronto on June 6th, and is contending for a ten thousand dollar prize.