Sportsplex's defective roof opens door for green technology

A botched roof job has opened the door for an innovative energy-saving project at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.

Solar wall proposed for Dartmouth Sportsplex

The coating on the Dartmouth Sportsplex roof failed after just a few years, offers little protection and just plain looks bad. (CBC)

A botched roof job has opened the door for an innovative energy-saving project at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.

On Wednesday, Halifax council's audit and finance committee recommended installing a $104,000 solar wall on a portion of the Sportsplex roof undergoing a major renovation.

The roof's coating failed after just a few years and offers little protection. This month crews are removing the centre's defective coating.

But a 3,000 square foot swath of the roof may not be repainted. That's where Halifax's manager of facility development wants a solar wall installed.

"Instead of spending money on that portion of the roof we are able to make this investment," said Richard MacLellan.

"We are able to increase the energy performance of the building and address the protection of the roof and the aesthetic issue, which is right on the main street there."

A solar wall would preheat outside air via a perforated exterior wall membrane and, according to staff, is a low maintenance way to reduce ventilation costs.

 MacLellan says the $30,000 saved by not recoating 3,000 square feet of roof make the project viable.

"With the displaced capital costs we've got a five to six year payback," he told CBC News.

Halifax also operates Solar City, a program that helps finance solar panels on homes.

Mayor Mike Savage says the Sportsplex projects fits.

"It'll save $10,000 a year in costs which is a useful thing. It also sends a signal that this municipality is a municipality that wants to be green," he said.

The city expects this technology to be used in some of its other buildings, saying the south-facing Sportsplex is an ideal test location.

The tender for the solar wall was awarded to Halifax-based Markland Associates.

The money is coming from an existing Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund.

Installation and modifications to duct work at the Sportsplex could be completed by December, pending final approval from council.