Chatham University

Solar Initiatives

Chatham University Office of Sustainability

Solar Tomorrow logo
Using on-site heat generation to conserve energy!

Quick Facts

  • Number of collectors: 64
  • Peak power: 90 kW [307,000 BTU/hr]
  • Total area of collectors: 1,270 sq ft
  • Total thermal storage of 2,260 gallons
  • Collector made of 100% aluminum alloy containing 70% recycled content
  • Collectors fully recyclable after 20-25 year lifespan
  • 1,160,000 BTU of solar energy stored in tanks on an average sunny day
  • 15 to 20 tons of CO2 prevented from entering the atmosphere per year

Residence Hall Project Overview

Chatham University partnered with Solar Tomorrow Inc. to install building-integrated solar thermal collectors on Chatham’s research greenhouse and roof-mounted collectors on the two highest-occupancy residence halls.

Solar Tomorrow’s installation at Chatham’s Shadyside campus in Pittsburgh is the largest solar thermal project in Pennsylvania. The project is also Solar Tomorrow's first full-scale implementation of its proprietary micro-channel solar thermal technology. Financing for the project was provided by the Governor of Pennsylvania, Chatham University, and Solar Tomorrow Inc.

Greenhouse Project Overview:

In October 2010, Solar Tomorrow completed the installation of solar collectors on Chatham University’s research greenhouse. The greenhouse solar thermal system was built primarily as a demonstration project, as well as to supplement space heating for the greenhouse and to collect performance data.

The collectors resemble a curtain-wall structure widely used in contemporary construction. As such, the collectors demonstrate their possible use for two distinct purposes: collecting thermal energy and providing building façade cladding.

The collectors are installed at the ground level to showcase the installation and system elements to students and visitors. Plaques describe the basics of the technology and provide information about the project, and a computer display next to the collectors shows live system data.

There are two different types of collectors installed on the greenhouse: glazed collectors and unglazed collectors with a stone composite surface.