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Researching Interest & Uptake of Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems

February 25, 2011

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions has funded an RRU research team, led by Chris Ling, core faculty in the School of Environment and Sustainability, for their project: Understanding the public uptake and acceptance of a municipal green energy incentive program, in the amount of $47,000. The research team includes; Nancy Wilkin, Office of Sustainability; Charles Krusekopf, School of Environment and Sustainability; and Ingrid Kajzer-Mitchell, School of Business. The project entails a collaboration between RRU and the City of Colwood to ensure the success of the “Solar Colwood” project, which has as one of its goals to have 1,000 homes in Colwood install solar thermal water heating systems.

Residential households account for 17 per cent of Canada’s energy requirements and 16 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In order to achieve community wide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability goals, it will be crucial for communities in B.C. to find innovative ways to influence household choices related to energy sources and consumption. Energy security, climate change mitigation, and Canada’s leadership and competitiveness in sustainable building and community design rely on finding ways to encourage innovation and economic ways to retrofit the millions of existing houses to meet net-zero energy targets.

The primary objective of the research is to examine the process of uptake and infiltration of the City of Colwood Solar project as well as the wider notions of renewable energy, energy conservation, carbon emissions and sustainable behaviour into the market and local community. There are two components of this research: the first is to examine methods and tools used by Colwood to develop interest and uptake in the community for solar thermal hot water systems, and the second is to examine the response to the project by the population of Colwood.

RRU, as a partner to Colwood and the Solar Colwood project, will carry out key research, monitoring and evaluation exercises to ensure that Solar Colwood is able to meet its ambitious goals for adoption of solar thermal systems, and that lessons learned and capacity gained during the project is captured and used to increase the capacity of Colwood with regards to sustainable community development and a green energy paradigm shift. Findings will be important for the development and uptake of renewable energy and related projects in other municipalities.

For more information, please contact Chris Ling at, Charles Krusekopf at, or Nancy Wilkin at


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