Northern Arizona University – LEED Silver

Charcoal SolarWall® air heating system installed at Northern Arizona University’s LEED® Silver Certified Distance Learning Center.


When project architect Burns Wald-Hopkins Shambach Architects started work on the new Distance Learning Facility at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, they were targeting a LEED® silver rating. In order to achieve the certification requirements, they implemented a variety of green technologies. The most prominent carbon-free technology is a SolarWall® air heating system. The SolarWall technology was chosen because it provides fresh solar heated ventilation air in the winter, and acts as a shading screen during the summer. The SolarWall system provides exceptional air quality for the classrooms, faculty offices, and a new television studio that make up the new building. The SolarWall system also qualified for up to 6 LEED® points.


Conserval designed the SolarWall® system for the solar-rich, south facing wall of the new facility, integrating the solar component into the building’s mechanical system. The total solar collector area is 2,828ft2 (263m2) and the architect designed it in such a way that the horizontally-mounted SolarWall® system became one of the key visual features of the front façade. The SolarWall®system on the new Distance Learning Facility is projected to produce over 412 million BTUs of renewable energy annually. The system will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29 tons of CO2 each year.