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SAIT awarded funding to demonstrate residential micro-CHP retrofit in Alberta

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has revealed that it is receiving CA$385 500 from Western Economic Diversification Canada for the equipment, personnel and research needed to bring micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) technology to residential areas. The technology reduces wasted heat and allows homes to be more self-sufficient with energy use.

Southern Alberta Institue of Technology (SAIT) to receive federal funds for an energy efficiency project (photo courtesy SAIT).

Micro-CHP technology may help to make our communities more energy efficient and make net-zero energy a more realistic option for families in Calgary, and all of Western Canada, said Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, who made the announcement at SAIT’s Green Building Technologies Lab and Demonstration Centre on January 24.

SAIT’s Green Building Technologies team is testing multiple mCHP units to find the best option for heat — including space heating and hot water — and electricity for an entire home. The small single-piston natural gas engine is designed to offset a typical home’s annual electric load by 30 percent.

SAIT will be joined by industry partners — ATCO Gas and Brookfield Residential — to research affordable energy for residential homes.

At the announcement from SAIT were Dr David Ross, President and CEO and Dr Alex Zahavich, Vice President, Corporate Development and Applied Research. Dr Ross noted that these kinds of partnerships — along with industry and technology-focused applied research and education — produce a workforce that will meet the challenges of the future.

It is not just about the technology, it is about the labour force and the talent that we are building, Dr Ross said.

According to Greg Caldwell, Senior Manager, Research and Innovation, ATCO Gas, homes with a mCHP retrofit can cut annual emissions by up to 37 percent. New net-zero homes, combined with solar technology, can cut emissions by 75 percent versus a standard newly built home.

These forms of collaboration are critical to the future successes of building great cities, said Trent Edwards, COO, Alberta, Brookfield Residential

Hehr believes this partnership is key to building a bright future for the economy.

We do not see this as an expense, we see this as an investment, Hehr said.

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