Mesa College hero

Mesa College

Architecturally integrated Kingspan Thermomax collectors give college clean & green future

Mesa College

Architecturally integrated Kingspan Thermomax collectors give college clean & green future

Location :
San Diego, California
Through an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach, a Kingspan Varisol DF solar thermal system was specified to meet building performance and design aesthetic goals, and to generally promote energy efficiency awareness.”

William Chen,
COO & VP of Engineering,
Adroit Energy


The San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students each semester through three colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, and six Continuing Education campuses, offering associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for entry-level jobs or furthering their education in four-year colleges and universities.
In keeping with the SDCCD’s Green Building Policy, all new facilities and major renovations at San Diego Community College are designed to obtain a minimum LEED Silver certification and aimed at reducing both energy costs and carbon footprint of the college.
Adroit engineers were involved with the project from its initial conception in 2011, working on the Integrated Project Delivery team with architects, engineers, and contractors to design build suitable renewable energy system for the application.
The result is a state-of-the-art solar thermal and radiant heating and cooling system providing water heating and air conditioning for the college’s new building.
As a part of $36 million project, Mesa College has decided to have their new cafeteria and bookstore heated and cooled entirely by sustainable energy.


With a limited roof space available for installation of solar thermal system, Adroit Energy has come up with a revolutionary solution. 
Due to its unique design and flexibility in installation Kingspan Thermomax Varisol DF collectors have been chosen for this installation. 1770 evacuated tubes have been installed down the side of the building as an architecturally integrated façade. The system’s design is the first of its kind in San Diego and another example of the future of solar hot water system aesthetics.
Solar thermal collectors, covering the surface of 2,655 square feet, transfer heat from the sun to a 3,000-gallon hot water storage tank providing solar heated water for the cafeteria kitchen and bathrooms. It also sends excess energy to the central plant when the primary loads are satisfied. As a result, the system saves the college over 9,450 terms of natural gas annually – that’s the equivalent of 53,488 lbs of coal burned.
Adroit’s cutting edge aesthetic design allows the panels to also work as a modern shade structure. As sun radiation and air move freely between the tubes, the collectors act as a breezeway and a beautiful way to hide the building’s mechanical equipment.
The building also has an in-floor radiant heating and cooling system installed with water running through piping in the ground and heating or cooling the space above as required. Now the entire dining hall and bookstore are heated and cooled using sustainable energy and make a great example to the students. ‘I think it’s awesome that they are with the solar panels and being green.’ commented one of them with another student adding: ‘I think it’s really cool. I like that our school is trying to do things to help out the environment. I like that it’s kind of spreading to the entire community, so it’s a good thing!’

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