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Green Building News

A New Lab To Test Water Heaters

At the new Hot Water Systems Laboratory, researchers from the Florida Solar Energy Center will test seven water heating systems for one year. The testing protocol calls for hot water draws amounting to 64.3 gallons of 120°F water per day.
Image Credit: Nicholas Waters, FSEC

Florida Set-Up Permits Side-by-Side Comparisons

COCOA, FL — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) recently announced the opening of a new laboratory for testing solar water heaters, on-demand water heaters, and conventional tank heaters. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program, the Hot Water Systems Laboratory will provide answers to a variety of questions, including: How much do solar water heaters contribute to the reduction of peak electric loads?

“Solar water heating is an excellent way to save energy on water heating and reduce whole-house energy use, but utilities are specifically interested in knowing whether or not solar is providing relief to the power grid during peak times. Our testing will answer their questions,” says Subrato Chandra, the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership project manager at FSEC.

Measuring the Performance of Integrated Collector and Storage Systems

Researchers are particularly interested in the efficiency of solar batch heaters. Principal investigator Danny Parker noted, “Solar integrated collector and storage systems, where the storage tank is on the roof and sensitive to weather, have never been verified before, only simulated, so we’re interested in seeing how they work, particularly on winter mornings.”

The lab is currently collecting 90 channels of data from seven water heaters:

1. A standard 50-gallon electric water heater.

2. A solar water heater with a 40-square-foot flat-plate collector, an 80-gallon storage tank, and a differential controller.

3. A solar water heater with a 32-square-foot collector, a 40-gallon integrated collector storage tank, and a standard 50-gallon electric tank for backup.

4. A solar water heater with a 40-square-foot flat-plate collector, an 80-gallon storage tank, and a DC pump powered by photovoltaic module.

5. A standard 40-gallon natural gas water heater.

6. An on-demand natural gas water heater.

7. An on-demand electric water heater.

The seven water heating systems will be tested for a full year. For more information, visit

One Comment

  1. Anonymous | | #1

    This is awesome, thanks for
    This is awesome, thanks for the info.

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