First large heliothermal heat pump inaugurated

Câbles Ben-Mor is the first company in Quebec to adopt solar heating for its St-Hyacinthe plant.
Enerconcept’s heliothermic heat pump will help to save close to 50% of the plant’s heating costs.

St-Hyacinthe, for release this Friday, march 31st 2006.

Câbles Ben-Mor, a St-Hyacinthe business specialized in the manufacturing of all types of steel cables, is proud to announce that they are the very first company to have acquired a large scale solar heating system this past winter, which now allows it to save between 40% and 50% of its heating costs. This solar energy system, which could very well become a of model of efficiency and profitability for all Québécois industries is marketed as the heliothermic heat pumptm bySolutions Énergétiques Énerconcept inc. of Magog, Qué.

Christian Vachon, ing., Énerconcept’s president, explains the basics of the heliothermic heat pump: “ Heliothermy, to draw a parallel with better known geothermy, means that the sun’s light is transformed into usable heat to warm the plant’s interior. The exterior ambient temperature is raised by 10 to 20C in the solar collectors. The hot air is drawn into the collectors and then routed to the cold side of the heat pump which easily absorbs this energy. The solar energy that is so captured is directed towards the interior of the building by cooling ducts and is distributed at a higher temperature (27C) in the flexible air distribution ducts.”

As Eric Rompré, v-p operations at Câbles Ben-Mor, mentions: “The plant’s employees are already reaping the benefits of the system in terms of increased comfort and better air and heat distribution in our building. As far as we, upper management, were concerned, we chose on the one hand to take advantage of the savings in our operating budget while also increasing the comfort of our employees in certain sections of the plant that were not well served by the previous obsolete system.”

With the combined advantages of solar heating and a high performance heat pump, Enerconcept’s heliothermic systemtmnow heats Câbles Ben-Mor steel cable plant with 3 to 5 times less electricity than the previous electric system. Thanks to close to 500m2 of solar thermal collectors and 4 heat pumps, the system allows for better air and heat distribution in the plant. The estimated annual savings, depending on the winter weather, will vary between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.

Énerconcept, which has sold and installed the largest amount of solar heating systems in Canada since its beginnings in 1998, had already installed two heliothermic heat pumps of a smaller size for water heating. The company was able to collect precious data from these installations to perfect the system’s development. When Câbles Ben-Mor’s needs were evaluated, it became clear that the heliothermic heat pump would be the ideal solution for the plant.

For this project, Enerconcept recruited Beaudin LeProhon inc., one of Quebec’s largest cooling and air conditioning systems companies, to participate in the system’s made to order design and to install the system’s mechanics. Enerconcept’s president states:“Working with dependable partners that have the necessary specialized technical know-how is a must for the success of such an innovative project as this one. ”

Since the plant’s condition was perfect for a solar heating solution, the project called on Hydro-Québec and Natural Resources Canada’s support. Since its completion in early 2006, the heliothermic system® is already paying out dividends to Câbles Ben-Mor by a reduction in energy costs and a noticeable improvement of comfort in the plant.

Câbles Ben-Mor called on Enerconcept‘s services within an environmental partnership program sponsored by Enviro-Accès, a public Para governmental agency which promotes energy efficiency projects as one of its mandates.

Hydro-Québec, which gave financial assistance for part of the project, thanks to its Empower program for businesses, believes in the technical and environmental merits of technologies that use electricity as a back up source, as in Ben-Mor’s case.

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