Location: 1488 200th St., St. Croix Falls, WI 54024
Contact: Kathleen Melin
Email: kathleenmelin [at] centurytel.net
Designer: Artha Renewables, Amherst, WI
Installer: Bearpaw Design & Construction, Strum, WI
Components: 10 Solar Mining Co. flat plate collectors
Lamar, a 1905 school house on the National Register of Historic Places and community center since its closing as a school in 1945, is currently undergoing renovation/restoration with sustainable building materials and renewable energy systems, a grassroots effort of restoring a building and building community. A grant from the State of Wisconsin Focus on Energy supported the installation of a radiant solar high mass heating system that was installed in 2004. The concurrent foundation repair with R-19 Durisol block made it possible for the system to be installed as a retrofit. The installation is a demonstration project that allows Lamar to fulfill its mission of education and enhancement for our rural area. Since 2004, Lamar has been a featured site on the National Tour of Solar Homes and Businesses and offered a seminar for tradespeople on solar high mass heating.
This is an active solar heating system in which a propylene-glycol solution is pumped by a small solar-operated DC pump through the collectors and into a 16-inch bed of sand in the basement of the building. The sand is insulated with two inches of rigid foam insulation, providing an absorptive mass in which heat is stored. The absorber fluid is shunted to a ground loop in spring and summer to prevent overheating.
Funding for this project came from Focus on Energy for equipment ($12,000), a Focus on Energy demonstration grant ($2,938) the Milwaukee School of Engineering ($1,000), and many individual donors.
Collector output varies seasonally depending on the number of daylight hours and daily depending on cloud cover. In September, the system at Lamar collects an average of 32,000 BTUs per hour. In November, when days are short and overcast, the average output is 19,000 BTUs per hour.