The Canadair aircraft assembly plant in Montreal is the site of the world’s largest solar air heating system. The solar installation was integrated into extensive renovations needed to improve indoor air quality and the appearance of the aging complex. The SolarWall® system was the landmark renewable energy technology used on the facility, and it has created very impressive environmental benefits for Bombardier, as is detailed below. The SolarWall technology is a solar air heating system that addressed the largest requirement for conventional energy in the facility, which was ventilation heating. The architect overseeing the renovation project selected the handsome blue-grey color for the SolarWall collector and contrasted it with a white-colored canopy, which also acts as a manifold to ensure an even distribution of incoming air across the entire solar collector area. The overall intention was to redesign the building so that it was energy efficient, and esthetically attractive. The SolarWall system was installed in place of conventional exterior cladding. Therefore, when calculating the savings rate, only the incremental cost of the system was considered. (In 1996, the total incremental costs were $29/m2


SolarWall systems are installed on two sections of the complex; one faces 40° east of south the other 50° west of south. The total solar collector area is 8,826 m2 (95,000 ft2 ) plus an additional 1700 m2 (18,300 ft2 ) canopy. Twentynine fan and duct systems with a total capacity of 1,071,000 m 3 /h of supply air were also added. The SolarWall system reduce the use of fossil fuels in five capacities: • Active solar heating • Recapturing wall heat loss and returning it to the building • The insulting effect of the absorber reduces heat moving out through the building wall • The cooling effect of ventilation air introduced at ceiling level reduces heat loss through the roof • The same effect lowers the exhaust air temperature The total savings accruing from lower natural gas and electricity usage were calculated to be nearly $170,000 per year; and this was at 1996 energy prices. This means that in the 15+ years since the installation, Bombardier as a company has saved well over $2.5 million in reduced energy costs from this one project alone!