City Operations Building

City Operations Building, BC, Carmanah solar photovoltaic systemCity Operations Building, BC, Carmanah solar photovoltaic system
City of White Rock
Capacity (kW): 
White Rock , BC
Commercial Operation: 

The City of White Rock's new Operations Building has received the coveted LEED™ Gold rating, making it the first building in Canada to achieve this standing using solar power. The U.S.'s Green Buildings Council developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System to encourage and promote the design of sustainable buildings.

The City of White Rock Operations Building is unique in Canada as it is the first building to receive this standing while claiming Credit 2.1 under the Energy & Atmosphere section. To receive this credit towards certification, a building must generate 5% of their energy consumption from an on-site renewable energy resource. In this case the renewable energy source is a 2.0 kW grid tie solar array.

The engineering firm of Flagel Lewandowski of New Westminster and architects Busby & Associates of Vancouver, partnered with Carmanah, to design this solar array using 16 x SP-130 solar modules from Shell and an 1800 W Sunny Boy inverter from SMA America. A powerline carrier communications card was added to the system to send information from the inverter over the power line to a LCD remote control. The remote control, which can simply be plugged into any AC receptacle in the building, monitors the system's performance and displays operating characteristics. The display communicates information such as input (solar) DC voltage & current, output AC voltage and current, kW and kWHr.

The building is an excellent example of energy conscious engineering. Factors such as passive lighting design and effective ventilation contribute to the energy conservation which helps to minimize the building's energy consumption. Since the output from a solar array is fixed, assuming average sunlight hours, the lower the building's overall energy demands the higher the percentage will be met by the renewable resource.