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Micro power for major impact

SAIT receives federal funding for energy efficiency project

SAIT receives federal funding for energy efficiency project.

A new energy could soon be coming to the suburbs and SAIT is leading the charge.

SAIT is receiving $385,500 from Western Economic Diversification Canada for the equipment, personnel and research needed to bring micro-combined heat and power (mCHP) technology to residential areas.

The technology reduces wasted heat and allows homes to be more self-sufficient with energy use.

"Micro-CHP technology may help to make our communities more energy efficient and make net-zero energy a more realistic option for families in Calgary, and all of Western Canada," says Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, who made the announcement at SAIT's Green Building Technologies Lab and Demonstration Centre on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

The little engine that could

SAIT's Green Building Technologies team is testing multiple mCHP units to find the best option for heat — including space heating and hot water — and electricity for an entire home. The small single-piston natural gas engine is designed to offset a typical home's annual electric load by 30%.

SAIT will be joined by industry partners — ATCO Gas and Brookfield Residential — to research affordable energy for residential homes.

SAIT President and CEO Dr. David Ross, was joined at Wednesday's announcement with Dr. Alex Zahavich, Vice President, Corporate Development and Applied Research. Dr. Ross notes these kinds of partnerships — along with industry and technology-focused applied research and education — produce a workforce that will meet the challenges of the future.

"It is not just about the technology," he says. "It is about the labour force and the talent that we are building."

Greg Caldwell, Senior Manager, Research and Innovation, ATCO Gas, says homes with a mCHP retrofit can cut annual emissions by up to 37%. New net-zero homes, combined with solar technology, can cut emissions by 75% versus a standard newly built home.

Partnership pays off

"These forms of collaboration are critical to the future successes of building great cities," says Trent Edwards, COO, Alberta, Brookfield Residential

Hehr believes this partnership is key to building a bright future for the economy.

"We do not see this as an expense," he says. "We see this as an investment."

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