NFMT

mastheadsubI attended National Facilities Management & Technology conference at the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday. The theme for the show was “going green”, from health of cooling tower water to workings of Power Purchase Agreements, the two best presentations witnessed.

Solar tri-generation was my best-of-show for most exotic building technology. Try this: an exoskeleton of piping carrying glycol or water sent to small gallium PV collectors on which tracking mirrors have concentrated sun rays. The exoskeleton and rows of mirrors are constructed over roofs of parking decks at a height 48″ off the roof surface. The glycol cools the back of the collectors, the heat carried away is sent through a heat exchanger to either heat or cool the interior of an adjacent structure. The technology is Canadian and reportedly guaranteed by its government. The licensee is NJ-based for US deployment.

Solar tri-generation is new to me; conventional tri-generation (combined heat and power) takes natural gas as fuel to fire absorption chillers which heat, cool, and make electricity. Tecogen makes such a chiller, applications generally limited to large facilities such as hospitals with constant need for “waste” heat, here used to heat DHW. Tri-generation for small facilities makes sense only when the cost of natural gas is extremely cheap, or power expensive. Solar tri-generation may have its applications, architects will be challenged to deploy it if the US states provide incentives. I would be concerned about panel life and ease of replacement and graceful integration of the exoskeleton into the structure.

Tri-generation

Tri-generation

Toyota Motors was at the show. TM continues to lead its industry in alternative energy implementation both in cars and buildings. 2008 saw the completion of their roof-mounted PV installation for a site in Ontario, California, the largest roof-mounted PV system in North America. Sunpower’s Powerlight fixed mounting system was deployed.

toy-ontario-ca_edited-1

Six football fields of silicon

 

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