Solar Air Heating Systems

A new, active seniors retirement building

Le Saphir senior houseLe Saphir senior houseLe Saphir senior house
MatrixAir Solar Air Heating


The installation of this 2035 ft2 unglazed, transpired MatrixAir® solar air heating system was part of this new active senior housing construction near Montreal.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing’s report entitled ACHIEVING HIGH-PERFORMANCE MULTI-UNIT RESIDENTIAL THE OPPORTUNITIES* ventilation air heating accounts for approximately 33% of a multi-residential building’s energy loss. There are several ways to use energy more efficiently and produce energy using renewable sources with products that integrate aesthetically, seamlessly and cost effectively within a buildings’ architecture.

Unglazed, transpired solar air heating systems have high operating efficiencies (70% to 89%), and utilize existing building mechanical systems in high rise applications in order to function. Such systems are designed for cold climates, demonstrating an incremental payback history of between two and eight years with best installations located in areas with cool weather but significant sunshine. Given their relatively quick payback, ease of integration on new or retrofit applications and the aesthetically pleasing designs, developers and building owners alike planning new construction or façade renovations should evaluate whether a transpired solar air heating systems is a viable option.

In the northern latitudes a dark, perforated, metal cladding (absorber) is installed on a south facing providing preheated air to the building’s ventilation intake system. Both diffuse and direct solar radiation strike the absorber and as the air passes through the perforations the sunlight is converted into heat. Outdoor air is drawn through the perforated exterior cladding at flow rates of 4 – 7 CFM/ft2 of collector area and into the void cavity between the cladding and the building’s exterior structural wall. Higher air flow rates are suggested for high-rise applications to mitigate the impact of heat loss due to ambient wind on the absorber. According to ASHRAE Standard 55, the temperature of the air in a building should range from 20 to 24° C during the winter and MatrixAir® transpired solar air collectors serve to pre-heat ventilation air by up to 23° C over ambient air temperatures without using other fuels greatly reducing energy demand. Studies of transpired solar collectors by Natural Resources Canada have also revealed the significant, natural air filtration attributable to such systems, reducing airborne particulate matter by about 50%. The occasional rainy day serves to rinse the collectors of any dust that may remain on the absorbers.


Project : Le Saphir, a new, six storey, seniors residence Installed: 2019
Preheated fresh air delivered : variable 6350 – 10250 CFM as required
Operation : 5 days/wk, 24 hours per day
Architect : Favreau-Blais



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