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Redesigned San Francisco Apartment Complex Will Use Three Types of Solar Energy

San Jose, California— Free Hot Water, a solar thermal engineering firm and manufacturer, has completed the engineering and designs for a new green San Francisco apartment complex that will utilize three types of solar energy: solar hot water, solar electric, and solar radiant heating.

The 3-story, 19,260 sq. ft. renovation project, located at 1731 15th St, will serve as a 50 one-bedroom student apartment complex located near the Mission Dolores section of San Francisco. The building is being completely renovated to reduce its energy usage and carbon footprint. By utilizing solar hot water, solar space heating, and solar electricity, the building will exceed California’s energy efficiency building standards under Title 24.

Free Hot Water worked with the building’s owners and project architects to design a comprehensive solar energy system that would reduce the costs of heating the building’s apartments and provide domestic hot water. Additionally, a 9 KW solar photovoltaic (PV system) will offset electric pump stations used for the solar thermal installation, as well as a portion of the building’s costs for lighting hallways and other common areas.

When the project is completed, 18 4 X 10 made-in-USA OG-100 certified solar collectors will provide 750 gal/day of solar hot water for tenants’ showers, laundry, and dishwashing.

The heating system was designed to take advantage of a new generation of smart and energy efficient pumps. When combined with an advanced controller, the installed heating system is projected to save over 60% of the energy used by conventional pumps. The solar heating system works by running solar heated fluids through 60 radiant heaters. This efficient radiant heating system will provide 75% of the heat needed by the building during San Francisco’s chilly climate.

As part of the overall system design, Free Hot Water included an integrated control panel that will let building managers monitor the solar PV, solar radiant heat, and solar hot water systems from a single dashboard. This dashboard is compatible from any web-enabled device, allowing the building’s owners to view solar operations on-the-go and address any problems.

“We’re excited to be the engineers of green apartment buildings like this student housing project,” said Gal Moyal, Free Hot Water’s CEO and Chief Engineer. “Solar thermal and solar radiant heating systems can be engineered for most buildings today. And with California’s CSI Thermal rebate and the 30% Federal investment tax credit, owners will see a very fast return on their investment.”

The project is estimated to save $6800/per year in water heating and space heating and electric costs and is estimated to see a return on investment in 4 years.

About Free Hot Water

Free Hot Water, based in San Jose, California, designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes high quality solar thermal systems and products for commercial and residential applications.

Our San Jose in-house engineering department works with installers, architects, and developers to designing solar thermal systems for a variety of large scale commercial applications. We evaluate each project, and design custom systems that are optimized for the unique needs of your business. Free Hot Water’s extra-mile customer service CAN also includes submitting all documents necessary for permits and help to get you all applicable financial solar incentives.


Paul Burrowes
(408) 432-9900

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