Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

Gymnasium Becomes Solar Air Heating System

Solar Air Heating System

KSQ Design helped West Patent Elementary use collectible sunshine to heat the school, resulting in a more efficient and economical solution for colder winter months.

When KSQ Design renovated West Patent Elementary in Westchester County, New York, as part of the Bedford Central School District’s 5-year capital improvement plan the team substituted materials to create a solar air heating system. This system saves the District money, reduces energy consumption, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and improves ventilation and indoor air quality.

The school’s 5,300-square-foot gymnasium needed exterior repairs and KSQ’s sustainability focused team knew solar air heating collectors are well suited to large, open spaces such as gymnasiums, and warehouses, which typically have tall expanses of exterior walls with few windows.

Instead of just using the proposed fiber cement siding, the team proposed alternating it with comparably priced perforated metal panels that would help to create the new solar air heating system.

KSQ determined the building’s position to the south and then placed the panels on the exterior to collect both morning sun and afternoon heat in accordance to the existing configuration of the building. The setup provides the school with collectible sunshine, and collects the sun’s energy on a typical sunny winter day from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; peak school hours.

The panels and fiber cement siding replaced the existing wood clad exterior panels on the upper exterior portion of the building. The perforated metal panels are ducted into the gymnasium ventilation system and existing mechanical fans (wall mounted inside the gymnasium) tie the new ductwork into West Patent’s existing mechanical system.

The system automatically regulates itself seasonally and the new system of dampers installed to direct or bypass solar heat into the building as needed are the system’s only moving part making it very low maintenance.

West Patent Elementary’s new solar air heating system displaces a traditional heating load by 20 to 50 percent and lowers greenhouse gas emissions; making it both a sustainable design decision and the best decision for a school’s bottom line.