CCHRC members and sponsors provide vital, sustaining support for our mission to promote and advance healthy, durable, and sustainable shelter for cold climates. Donations help fuel many projects, including sustainable prototype houses in rural Alaska, renewable energy tests, and the production of educational videos, publications and multimedia. Your contribution to CCHRC makes change happen by providing valuable support to our research efforts.
Thermal Storage Demonstration at CCHRC
This thermal storage system uses a massive tank of water to store energy from the sun. Alaska receives abundant sunlight during the summer but very little during winter months, when heating loads are greatest. Thermal storage allows us to capture heat with solar collectors in the summer and tap into it during the heating season.
In 2013, we installed 16 solar thermal collectors on the south roof of the building and buried a 25,000 gallon water tank in the ground. The solar collectors transfer heat into the tank in the summer through a heat exchanger, and the building draws from this heat in the winter. The system can produce 50 million BTUs a year, or the equivalent of 400 gallons of heating oil. This demonstration provides clues about how to design a residential thermal storage system and the potential costs and savings for homeowners.
This experimental solar seasonal storage project was funded by a $70,000 grant from BP Alaska, which includes solar hot water collectors and a heat storage system to enable solar energy to be stored and used during the winter. The tank was donated by K&K Recycling.
View Flickr slideshow here.
CCHRC monitors the temperature of the ground underneath the solar thermal tank to see if it melts the permafrost. Click here to view daily ground temperatures.
Read an Economic Case Study of the system here.