Arctic Schools

Year: 2000

Location: Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Arctic Schools

SolarWall® air heating systems work especially well in cold and northern
climates because the low azimuth of the spring sun reflects the sunlight off the snow. This enhances the performance of the system by 50-70%, which compensates for the shortened duration. The returns are also substantial given the high proportion of days in the spring, summer, and fall that are extremely sunny, yet very cold. This means that heated indoor air is always required.

Conserval Engineering was contacted to design and supply a renewable thermal heating system in a retrofit application at the high school gym annex at Alaittuq School in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. A 710 ft2 (66 m2) green SolarWall heater was installed and connected into the existing ventilation system, upstream from the heating coils.

One of the additional goals was that the solar heating system would
serve as an educational tool in instructing students about environmental technologies.


In 2000, a 2150 ft2 (200 m2) SolarWall system was also installed on the south wall of the newly constructed Weledeh Catholic School in Yellowknife. As well as ensuring excellent indoor air quality, the system was projected to save over $12,000 each year by displacing the 8,700 litres of oil that would be needed to heat ventilation air. This means that in the 18+ years since the system has been installed, the energy savings are well over $200,000, which strongly emphasizes why solar air heating is such a good long-term investment for municipalities. Energy savings accrue from the solar, and from the reduced heat loss during winter; most of the heat that would normally escape through the south wall is captured by incoming air and returned to the building with pre-heated fresh air. However, for the Weledeh School, one of the most important selling feature of the SolarWall technology was that it could be used by the teachers as a teaching tool to promote environmental awareness among students. And the elementary students learn that their SolarWall system has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 26 tons each year it has been operational.