Santa Cruz, Calif. — Climate Right Systems, a newly formed company spun off of the design and building construction operations of contractor Pacific Solar Radiant Inc., a mechanical engineering and radiant heating and cooling company, located here, for the purpose of product development, engineering and integration of HVAC systems, offers completely engineered, assembled and tested equipment packages for hydronic heating and cooling, enabling qualified mechanical and plumbing contractors to install these plug-and-play systems easily and efficiently.

Thanks to Climate Right Systems, installation does not need to be custom fabricated on-site anymore, which allows mechanical and plumbing contractors to expand their offerings without additional overhead and exposure to risk. Pacific Solar Radiant Inc. has installed a handful of Climate Right Systems, including one in a Woodside, Calif. home and one in the Sycamore house, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

In the Woodside, Calif., home, the first prototype of the Climate Right Phoenix System was installed this spring. It's comprised of a Heat Transfer Products Solar Phoenix water heater with an additional 119-gal. domestic water tank that is solar heated by three Sunda Seido-1 heat pipe thermal collectors with accommodation for three more collectors when the swimming pool is completed. The controls and variable speed circulators are located in a cabinet between two tanks, and radiant floor heating system controls use the internal variable speed function of the Wilo Stratos circulator to vary the speed of the ECM circulator. Therefore a constant pressure is applied to the heating system. The flow rate is varied by the zone valve and thermal actuators opening and closing.

“The start-up balance is as simple as having all zones be in full heating and turning the pump speed up with an adjustable dial until the flow meter on the pump discharge reads design flow rate plus safety factor of 10%,” said William Shady, president of Climate Right Systems and Pacific Solar Radiant Inc. “Once the operating point is established the point is set and the circulator will modulate its speed to maintain constant total dynamic head.”

The water temperature is varied by an injection-mixing controller for outdoor reset. As the outdoor temperature increases, the water temperature to the floors goes down — the lower the water temperature to the floors becomes, the higher the solar thermal energy fraction for space heating. Effective heating can be accomplished with water temperatures as low as 80°F in many climate zones. The condensing water heater is an effective and efficient compromise between the on-demand high-fire water heating and solar-assisted storage.

“The Climate Right System proposed by Pacific Solar met our requirement to provide solar heated domestic hot water as well as supporting a large majority of the home's radiant heating demand,” said Dan Stoddard, homeowner. “This system provides reliable cost effective hot water for both domestic and heating loads.”

Honeywell MX series anti-scald valves are used for Climate Right Systems, including the Climate Right Phoenix System.

“After years of dealing with noisy and stuck thermostatic mixing valves, we started using a Honeywell MX series high-quality anti-scald valve that is design specifically for domestic hot water recirculation and high temperature, and in environments where water quality varies widely,” explained Shady.

The design of the valve makes high volume flow for domestic water possible with minimal pressure drop, even when mixing small percentages of higher temperature solar-heated domestic water.

A Climate Right System was installed in the Sycamore house, which is also an ongoing sustainable design research project at Kovac Architects Inc., because Michael Kovac, principal at Kovac Architects and the owner and architect of the home, wanted an integrated solar thermal radiant heating and domestic hot water system to complement the house's renewable power grid connected system. The Climate Right System Platinum was chosen for the house because of its performance and efficiency.

According to Shady, the first step in tailoring the Climate Right System to Kovac's house was selecting all the major components to match the load in the house.

The modulating boiler provides an efficient and fast recovery for high capacity indirect domestic hot water production and is the source of the hot water that heats the radiant floor. The domestic water heater has a solar thermal coil in the bottom for indirect heating of the domestic hot water with solar thermal gain. Solar hot water is collected by three Sunda Seido-2 evacuated tube horizontal-flow-through thermal collectors.

“The building profile, height limitations, aesthetics and a green roof growing under the collectors dictated what collectors would be right for the project,” said Shady. “The collectors chosen are very effective, yet still allow significant light through the glass tube and space between collectors.”

The collectors can be installed on a vertical wall or laid flush with roof lines to avoid racks that interfere with the visual lines of the structure.

Overall system volume was increased to 230-gal. by adding a second 119-gal. domestic hot water storage tank. This tank has a solar coil in the bottom where the first energy of the day, collected by the solar thermal collectors, is stored. This water is usually the coolest since cold water feeds into the tank as hot water is being drawn out for domestic use. The top coil in the tank is used for radiant floor heating when needed, depending upon the tank temperature being higher than the water returning to the boiler.

According to Shady, the most efficient solar hot water systems do not try to store energy, and when possible they will use the domestic hot water first, then space heating, and then go to storage by design.

“The sun only shines during the day, so that is the only time there is solar thermal gain, and if we can use it during the day it is most efficient,” explained Shady. “When we get into thermal storage, the issue is that there is a lot of heat loss. Whenever possible, we want to use thermal gain right when it comes out of the collector — the idea is to use it as you make it, so you don't have to store it.”

During the summer, when there is no need for space heating, the controllers in the home's Climate Right System switch to a heat exchanger where the solar heated fluid is sent to a pool or other heat rejection sink.

Climate Right Systems' solar thermal components qualify for the 30% energy investment tax credit, the energy efficiency tax credit and local incentive programs for rebates and low interest energy efficiency loans.

Current prototype system models include most fuel sources available, including natural gas, LP-gas, electric geothermal, air-to-water heat pumps and other renewables.

“We continue to seek the best products and establish agreements from key manufacturers to supply Climate Right Systems with the right product price point and technical advantage,” said Shady.

Additional information regarding Climate Right Systems is available by contacting William Shady at Bill@sustainabledesignpm.com.