Skidmore College


 Project Objective: Work within existing architectural conditions and dizzying heights to reduce hot water energy needs (15000 gallons per day) 70% with precision engineering

The Skidmore College Solar Thermal Project involved retro-fitting five yearround occupancy buildings using an estimated 15000 gallons per day of hot water. Four dormitories and the main dining hall were each equipped with state of the art solar thermal technology; as a result, the hot water energy needs were reduced by 70%. Viessmann Manufacturing of Germany partnered with The Radiant Store to provide horizontal flat plate absorbers while BAYMAK from Istanbul provided the thermal storage batteries.

The project involved significant challenges in design and construction. Since the buildings were constructed entirely of concrete and steel and most of the wiring was embedded in conduit within the structure, Radiant needed to core drill through each 3 foot floor of solid concrete without hitting existing wiring. In addition to core drilling multiple levels of concrete, building heights themselves required expert material handling and extra attention to the health and safety of our workers. Both the ballast blocking materials and the solar panels were placed by crane with precision in close proximity to the work areas.

A pressurized glycol system was used on the dining hall with glycol being pumped under pressure through 55 solar panels over 300 feet. It required well thought out flow / piping designs to insure high performance. The smaller dormitory systems required equal consideration when it came to design and performance. The system’s closed loop heat exchange with the solar storage tanks are producing several thousand gallons of free hot water a day.

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