Richmond Fournier, Inc. of Sant-Adrien-D’Irland, Quebec, Canada won the first-place award in the sustainable category in ATAS International’s 2021 project of the year competition.  InSpire HP solar air heating wall panels in Select Blue .032 aluminum were installed on this project.  Fournier Industries Group Inc. is a leader in its field, active in the water treatment, mining, aluminum, hydropower, and industrial industries. 

The InSpire wall panel, a transpired solar collector, is mounted a few inches from the building’s outer wall, ideally south facing. The precision perforations in the wall panels allow outside air to travel through the face of the panel. Solar heated air at the surface of the panel is drawn through the perforations where it rises between the two walls and enters the building’s central ventilation system or supply fan.

During the warmer months, the InSpire wall panel also helps to reduce the cooling load in the summer by preventing normal solar radiation from striking the building’s main wall. Hot air is thermally siphoned up the wall and vented through holes at the top of the system, leaving the main wall cooler. In the summer, bypass louvers allow cool fresh air to be drawn into the building at night, maintaining indoor air quality.  

InSpire has been on the market for close to 20 years, traditionally with a 70% PVDF painted finish.  InSpire HP in a new selective surface finish is available in Select Blue and Select Black colors. The selective surface is an optical coating applied to the surface of an element of a solar energy device to reduce thermal radiation losses.  The selective surface of InSpire HP enhances absorptivity and efficiency to an already solid foundation of the solar collector.  The maximum heating temperature of the InSpire HP is as high as 90° above ambient, which far exceeds that of the traditional InSpire panel with the painted surface.  The solar heating output results showed a 25% to 30% increase over previously tested solar air heating collectors.  Not only will Richmond Fournier save on winter heating costs in their facility, but they will also lower their carbon emissions with that energy savings.  

Further verifying the effectiveness of a transpired solar collector, the United States Energy Information Administration has stated, “Heating outside air is often the single most expensive energy budget item in a building and this is what a solar air heating wall system helps to reduce.  Solar air heating is a simple, renewable, and efficient technology using the sun as a source of heat.  Transpired solar collector panels installed on building walls can be used for heating building space, outside air, and process hot air.”  

The architect for the Richmond Fournier, Inc. project was Construction Gosselin-Tremblay, Inc. of Thetford Mines, Quebec.  The InSpire HP solar air heating wall panels, installed by Refrigeration Thetford, Inc. of Thetford Mines, Quebec, were purchased through Trigo Energies of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.