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North America's First in Okotoks, Alberta

The Drake Landing Solar Community is nestled inside the Drake Landing housing development by United Communities in the north east corner of Okotoks, Alberta, 15 minutes south of Calgary. 52 houses by Sterling Homes are being built without standard natural gas furnaces and will be heated solely by warm water circulating through insulated, underground pipes of a district heating system. As unique as district heating systems are in Canada, what is even more unprecedented about the Okotoks system is the source of the warm water – the sun.

The Drake Landing Solar Community's district heating system is the first major implementation in North America of a proven European technology known as "solar seasonal storage". Solar thermal energy is collected in the summer, stored underground, and then returned to the homes as heat during the winter.

Seasonal solar energy storage is modern man’s way of coping with an ancient conundrum – the sun provides more than enough energy to keep us comfortably warm in the summer, but not enough in the winter. The Drake Landing Solar Community development in Okotoks collects excess solar thermal energy during the summer, storing it as heated rock/soil under the community park. During the cold winter months, the heat is retrieved from the rock/soil and delivered to the homes. Solar seasonal energy storage systems of this scale are relatively unique.

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