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How It All Began

Looking for ways to reduce operating costs as we prepared to renovate what would be the new business location for MEC.
The possibility of incorporating solar technologies in the renovations of our building became plausible. The structure was a 1945 wartime home located along Grayson’s main entrance road. In October 2009, we embarked on a week-long educational road trip, beginning in Edmonton, Alberta, for a CMHC conference on building a Net-Zero home. It gave us a lot of background information on building a tight envelope and integrating solar technologies. We travelled from Edmonton to Northern Saskatchewan to tour a number of off-grid solar homes, which provided the final piece of information we needed. We needed to know that the average person could achieve this goal.

Charting System

MEC needed to assess the performance and effectiveness of the solar energy systems from the beginning of the project. MEC’s technical team designed a program that would monitor the solar technology. The solar-thermal and solar-photovoltaic systems were originally part of a simple heat-measurement system with digital sensors run through the house on a recycled telephone wire. We were able to detect and correct faults in any of the systems quickly by monitoring them all simultaneously. The monitoring system allowed us to recognize savings from May to December. Only during the cold winter months when the panels could not produce enough electricity did we need to purchase power.
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