A new ‘house’ in Grayson is giving residents of Southeast Saskatchewan a unique way to see just how much unecessary energy they’re likely using each month.
Marieval Enterprise Center Inc. (MEC) has added solar energy to their energy efficiency demonstration house, located at 331 Railway Ave., Grayson, as part of their latest project, entitled ‘Off the Grid One Step at a Time.’ The demo house shows the potential of solar energy to produce power, and demonstrates ways in which the average consumer or business can reduce energy consumption and overall energy costs.
“Rather than just changing the light bulbs, there are ways for you to generate your own energy, and be more energy conscious,” explained Cherylynn Walters, Chair and CEO of the Marieval Enterprise Center.
On October 20, Marieval invited the public to watch as 20 solar panels were mounted onto the demo house, which will eventually be completely solar-powered.
“The whole house, all of its heat and its power, will be produced by the sun,” Walters said.
She was pleased to see people come out from Grayson, Grenfell, Broadview and even as far away as Humbolt to see the demonstration and learn more about the project.
“So there’s lots of interest being created in the area - lots of them are coming back when the whole system is completely finished,” Walters said.
Another 20 panels will be mounted on an up-right stand in the back yard, monitoring the difference between the upright panels and the panels on the roof to see which is more efficient, based on how much they produce over the year.
The demo house is still on the grid, but will feature a bi-directional meter, which means when they’re producing energy, the meter runs backwards, and they will only start using energy off the grid once they use more energy than they have produced.
Also featured are solar-thermal collectors, which will heat the water for all in-floor heat and domestic hot water.
“We have no natural gas in this house, and we have no furnace. So all of the heat is being produced by those collectors,” Walters added.
The demo house will also enable MEC to precisely gauge the differences in energy-consumption between devices, such as standard lightbulbs and energy-efficient light bulbs. Walters urges the public to come out and see the results for themselves.
“It is exciting when you start to see it - quite amazing,” Walters said. “Even we’re shocked, and we’ve been researching this for two years.
The house is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
“We’re happy to give them a tour and show them how the whole system works. They’re welcome to come any time,” Walters said.
Home energy is the third largest user of fossil fuels in Canada next to industrial and transportation use. In 2005, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency Canadians spent $152 billion on energy to heat and cool their homes, which represent 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.