Solar Energy to Help Heat Major Commercial Facility

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Golden, Colo., June 21, 1996 -- An innovative solar energy technology will have its first commercial application in Colorado at a new Federal Express distribution facility in Littleton.

Officials from the Federal Express Corp., the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the state of Colorado joined U.S. Representative Dan Schaefer and other local dignitaries today to dedicate the solar project at the new Federal Express distribution center at 4901 S. Zuni St.

The facility covers 70,000 square feet and can hold up to 80 trucks. The building's south wall contains 5000 square feet of transpired solar collectors developed at NREL that will pre-heat incoming ventilation air, thereby reducing the building's heating costs and the need to burn fossil fuels. Officials estimate the "solar wall" will reduce the building's heating requirements by 2300 million Btu's of natural gas per year, approximately a $12,000 annual savings. The $55,000 system is expected to pay for itself in five years. Equally important for the environment, the Federal Express solar system means 254,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will be avoided every year.

The transpired solar collector is a thin sheet of dark perforated metal. The dark wall absorbs solar radiation and heats fresh air drawn through its perforations by a building's ventilation fans. The collectors are commercially manufactured by Conserval Systems, Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y.

The transpired solar collector was recognized by Popular Science and Research and Development magazines in 1994 as one of the most innovative technology developments of the year.

The collectors' use at the new Federal Express distribution center is the result of a joint effort by the company, DOE, NREL, Conserval, Foltz Engineering, the state of Colorado and Wilson and Dalton, Inc. of Irvine, Calif., which owns the building.

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