Facts & FAQ
We’ve Done Our Homework!
iSolar is committed to the relentless pursuit of progress in renewable energy technologies. As such, we are compelled to continuously challenge both ourselves and our products to ensure maximum efficiency and efficacy. Below is a list of product testing and study programs centered around iSolar’s goals and results (where applicable). No other rooftop venting product competitor has invested in research of this kind.
Thank you for your interest in the extensive product testing we’ve undertaken to ensure that our SPAF works for you better than any other similar product in the attic ventilation category; it’s our goal to show you why we’re the best. Below you’ll gain a better understanding of how we have quantified electricity savings and how we have addressed any and all questions that have been raised by our customers. The information below is a culmination of many years of product testing and research to ensure our product’s performance qualities.
Please find the summaries of these research studies and analyses below. Full reports can be obtained upon request. Please contact info@iSolarSolutions.ca.
International Solar Solutions Inc. undertook two separate and distinct methodologies to quantify potential energy savings:
- Scientific/laboratory testing
- In situation (on-the-roof) testing
The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (“CCHT”) installed the SPAF units on one of two identical test houses with the other house representing the control sample. The units were left on the houses for two non-consecutive weeks in the summer of 2012; results indicated reduced air conditioner usage in the house with our SPAFs installed. This led to the creation of two formulae that allow calculation of kilowatts (kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh) savings as required by the Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario (“IESO”) and Ontario (electric) Local Distribution Companies (“LDCs”). The test was corroborated at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (“UOIT”) Automotive Centre of Excellence (“ACE”) facility through further experimental testing in the facility’s Large Climate Chamber. The results of the follow-up testing, when plugged into the formulae from the CCHT, yielded an approximate savings of 315 kWh per household per 90 cooling days with two units installed.
In Situation (on-the-roof) Testing
The in-situation testing was conducted over a 3 year period. Data was gathered from 400+ homes across four Ontario LDC service territories – half of the homes had our SPAFs installed and the other half were used as baseline comparison homes and did not have a SPAF installed. Energy consumption data was gathered by the LDCs themselves and provided to a data analysis and LDC program design firm called KMDR Research; the Principal of which is expert in the field of energy efficiency and has helped the former Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) design their program evaluation protocols and subsequently conduct conservation program evaluation, measurement and verification. KMDR research found:
“…a control-adjusted savings of 416 kWh per home was found using the Difference of Differences (DID) approach. By utilizing both methodologies of testing, we were able to identify the opportunity for energy savings and confirm the real-world benefits are actually better than what was initially thought from lab studies.”
-Kevin Monte De Ramos, Principal (KMDR Research)
In Situation Pilot by the IESO (Independent Electricity Systems Operator) in Brampton, Ontario.
The IESO and Hydro One Brampton (now Alectra Utilities) installed the iSOLAR ATTIC FANS on 1,033 homes. The Pilot was successful, with very positive participant feedback. Significant energy savings were achieved in single story homes, in particular during PEAK hours, where electricity demand and rates are at their highest. The final results of the Pilot are still outstanding. In the meantime, the IESO has included Solar Powered Attic Ventilation as one of its Prescriptive Measures in April 2018.
Hurricane Winds Endurance and Stability Testing
|Test||Sustained Wind Speed (mph)||3-Second Gust Wind Speed (mph)||Roof Angle to Wind||Roof Pitch|
The iSolar Attic Fan was rigorously tested for endurance and stability in simulated hurricane wind speeds. The testing was independently conducted by the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology (Automotive Centre for Excellence) in Oshawa Ontario Canada. The performance statistics are listed above. The statement issued by the testing engineer is as follows…”No applied wind speed had any visible impact on the provided attic fan, other than some slight shaking noted at the 90 degree rotation of the roof. Upon further inspection, that appeared to be just transference of the model roof panel shaking. In each case the wind was raised to the sustained wind speed target and held for at least 30 seconds, then raised quickly to the gust wind speed target for a minimum of three seconds, as specified in the building code you had referenced during our prior discussions. At your request we also made a final run at a higher sustained and gust speed, which also had no visible impact on the solar panel assembly.”
Expert roofing professionals such as Ken Gascoigne, Owner/Operator of Empire Roofing Corporation – one of Canada’s largest roofing companies advised the IESO the need for ventilation in the winter is just as critical as the summer:
“Contrary to the incorrect assumption that attic spaces should be warmer than the cold winter air outside, it is a fact that the attic space temperature should be the same as the outside ambient air temperature. There should be no temperature differential between the inside attic space and the outside. When an attic space in the winter is warmer than the outside ambient air temperature, damage will occur ranging from mold to active condensation on the underside roof sheathing and structure. This is the single greatest cause of mold in the upper floors of residences.”
Insulation Level Effect on Energy Savings
International Solar Solutions contracted Kai Millyard Associates (a highly regarded insulation expert in Ontario) to provide an analysis of Ontario residential insulation levels by vintage to determine if insulation R-value of a house could affect potential savings created by SPAF technology.
The analysis indicates that the average insulation level across all vintages throughout Ontario is R-23. Their report clearly indicates that the SPAF would be beneficial for the vast majority of Ontario homes.
Effect of Additional Attic Ventilation on Air Pressure in Houses
International Solar Solutions contracted Gord Cooke of Building Knowledge Canada Inc., a well respected Ontario firm specializing in home energy and air-quality/air tightness audits, to request that Mr. Cooke opine on these concerns. The “Cooke report” indicates that a solar attic fan in particular would not create sufficient negative pressure to impact the operation of any natural draft combustion appliance nor would it create a an increased infiltration of radon gas. The negative pressure in the home would have to be 2-3 times more powerful than the SPAF to create any ill effects. He states that this is the case for new and existing homes. It would be a concern if an attic fan’s air movement capacity was at 800 – 1200 CFM, while the iSolar Attic Fan is rated at 400 CFM.
“Again, in summary, the Solar Attic Fan system is unlikely to cause a negative pressure of 3-5 Pa in the attic of a home – new or existing. It is even less likely that it could create a negative pressure of 3 Pa. in the interior of a home. Properly constructed venting systems can reliably overcome negative pressures of up to 5 Pa. In new homes, power vented and direct vented combustion appliances can overcome 50 Pa of negative pressure or more.”
– Gord Cooke (Building Knowledge Canada)
Affordability for Utilities (LDCS)
A Total Resource Cost (“TRC”) analysis was performed to identify the benefit/cost ratio that LDCs could expect if they to include the SPAF technology as part of an existing conservation program. The test was performed by Mike Singleton of SeeLine Group Ltd., an Ontario-based firm consisting of energy efficiency and conservation programming experts from various backgrounds including economics, engineering, business, and environmental sciences; SeeLine’s TRC protocol has been vetted and accepted by the Ontario Energy Board (“OEB”). The analysis, based on results achieved through the CCHT and UOIT experiments, concluded that the Solar Attic Fan would provide a benefit/cost ratio of +2.01. This is a successful result as anything above +1.0 is considered acceptable by Ontario LDCs as a cost effective inclusion in conservation programs. This may change for the better once the definitive energy savings results are calculated in the IESO/Alectra pilot.
Ontario Conservation First Framework LDC Targets
Peter Love of Love Energy Consultants created a report for International Solar Solutions Inc. indicating approximate residential conservation targets by utility and what percentage of said targets could be achieved through inclusion of the SPAF in existing conservation programs. The report indicated that, on average, an LDC could expect to achieve between 8-10% of its residential conservation target through adoption of our SPAF technology. *Peter Love was Ontario’s first OPA Chief Conservation Officer, and is currently a professor of Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy at York University, a long-standing advisor to MaRS, a founding board member of Rethink Sustainability and President of the Energy Services Association of Canada.
Collaborative Research Study with Georgian College, Barrie, ON
International Solar Solutions Inc. reached an agreement with Georgian College to study temperature differences between residential attic spaces with and without the Solar Attic Fan installed during the period of Nov. 2011 – Apr. 2012. The agreement provides for the opportunity to renew into an extended joint research program, which would study the various applications of the Solar Attic Fan and the associated benefits. Initial technical studies will be performed at the Barrie, Ontario campus. Phase two of testing will incorporate ‘test’ homes in/around the Barrie area and will focus on the collection of real world temperature and moisture reduction data. Along with sustainable energy and environmental students, phase three of testing will also include the Building and Design Departments for the construction of International Solar Solutions scale testing facilities. The study project will be partially funded by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (“NSERC”) of Canada. In addition to the grant, International Solar Solutions is pleased to provide incremental project funding, as needed, to assist Georgian College in aspiring to the highest possible standards of scientific research and innovation.
For more information, please follow the links provided to the Georgian College website:
What is a Solar Attic Fan and what can it do for me?
A Solar Attic Fan harnesses solar power to remove extreme heat in residential attic spaces in order to reduce energy use, increase comfort and prolong the life expectancy of roofing materials and air-conditioners.
The solar powered attic fan provides different benefits in summer and winter:
In summer it reduces attic temperatures. This helps cool the home, allowing for less use of expensive high-energy cost air conditioning (AC).
In winter the Solar Attic Fan reduces rot, mildew and mold. As hot air cools on contact with roofing materials, moisture condenses leading to development of rot, mildew and mold—all of which can cause serious damage. The solar attic fan actively improves attic air circulation and helps reduce rot and growth of mold and mildew. The Solar Attic Fan also helps reduce ice dam formation on eaves troughs. In poorly ventilated attics, heated air causes snow and ice to melt from the roof and run down to the eaves where it freezes again, forming hazardous ice dams. This can also cause interior water damage. Increased ventilation from the solar attic fan decreases the chance of ice damming.
Energy savings example: 2000 square foot house – rated at approximately 315 kWh* per summer in the Ontario, Canada, climate resulting in potential cash savings per house = $50 – $100/year depending on local climate, age of the house and local electricity rates. (Some studies have shown electricity reduction as high as 500 kWh.) Most houses built before 1984 will see greater energy savings due to lower attic insulation requirements.
The Solar Attic Fan extends life of roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are designed to withstand abuse from the sun over many years, though they are subjected to damaging temperatures as a result of an over-heated attic. The greater ventilation offered by the Solar Attic Fan lowers attic temperatures, extending the life of roofing materials.
As the Solar Attic Fan operates, the draw on air-conditioning diminishes, resulting in a longer life span of the air-conditioner.
* Values obtained through extensive research conducted exclusively for iSolar by the Canadian Centre for Housing Technology (Natural Resources Canada, National Research Council of Canada) and the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology
Where can I get one?
Wholesale Purchasing (for Contractors): As a home improvement contractor of roofing, insulation or any other attic related solutions your company can acquire our product via our wholesale price list (available upon setting up an account with a submission on our Contact page). A minimum order of 50 units is required.
Online Purchasing (for Homeowners): for direct to home owner purchases there are a few options such as www.amazon.ca or contacting your local roofing, insulation and attic ventilation contractor. It is recommended that a professional contractor install your solar attic fan. Below are some links to some of our Contractor partners:
Will the Solar Attic Fan work well on newer better insulated homes?
Absolutely! Extensive studies of the Solar Attic Fan’s performance have been completed and the tests are positive. In the past, the engineering community had expressed concerns that the Solar Attic Fan could potentially create negative pressure in homes with well insulated attics. This has been proven to be inaccurate. The Solar Attic Fan is capable of moving 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) when operating at peak sunlight. This is the same amount of movement that occurs when one uses bathroom fans or stove top fans. It has been proven that there is absolutely no risk of creating an imbalance of pressure between the conditioned space of the house and the attic.
It has been proven that the Solar Attic Fan, in addition to reducing the risk of mold in the attic, is capable of reducing thermal heat transfer from the attic to the conditioned house space resulting in savings due to decreased air conditioning.
Is a solar unit better than what I have now?
Most homes are constructed with passive ventilation systems that rely on natural convection to provide sufficient air pressure for circulation and ventilation. In many jurisdictions passive units are used to meet minimum building code requirements, but solar-powered units are used to actively improve home comfort with no increase to the electricity bill.
Are there alternatives to solar-powered attic fans? What are they?
Yes, there are alternatives such as wind powered roof fans, and electrically powered roof fans. However, neither have the benefits of Solar Attic Fans:
- While the Solar Attic Fan provides active circulation and ventilation on hot summer days, wind-powered units fail on the most uncomfortable summer days when there is no breeze at all.
- Electrically powered roof fans seem comparable with solar powered units. But, while the solar-powered unit decreases electricity costs (as it is powered by the sun), the electrically powered unit increases electricity bills.
- Electrically powered roof fans have caused house fires.
Can it be installed anywhere on my roof?
Who will install it?
We recommend the Solar Attic Fan be installed by a professional who is licensed to work on a roof. It usually takes less than 15 minutes. Please contact us for a list of recommended installers.
What do I do if I need warranty and/or repair service?
For your convenience, we are able to assist directly with inquiries about servicing your Solar Attic Fan. Please contact us for service and warranty inquiries or if you any questions. We will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Do the Solar Attic Fans only operate during the day?
Yes. The Solar Attic Fan is designed to lower peak energy usage when this relief is needed most. The beauty of the Solar Attic Fan is that it automatically adjusts the fan speed to the amount of available sunlight and, therefore, the amount of heat building up in your attic. The objective is to make the Solar Attic Fan as simple as possible and to avoid unnecessary and bulky additions such as batteries, extra solar panels, and regulator components.
Also, because the Solar Attic Fan is designed simply to remove excess heat in summer and moisture in winter, no timers or controls are needed. In late winter and early spring, when ice damming is likely to happen in an attic because of moisture, the fan will become more exposed to sunlight as the snow melts and will remove excess moisture, which will help the roof last longer. Air movement will help reduce the condensation as well as reducing the possibility of mold and rot within the attic.
Would the Solar Attic Fan extract hot air from my home in winter and make my furnace work harder?
If the venting intake is properly designed the air flows in through the lower, soffit venting, and then through the Solar Attic Fan. The Solar Attic Fan will not cause a furnace to work harder unless there is a badly leaking ceiling between the living space and the attic space. In many areas, the snow will also cover the solar panel during the coldest winter months, meaning that the Solar Attic Fan will not be on needlessly and would not move extra air through your attic space when it’s not needed. Finally, if the sun is out and the snow has melted enough to uncover the solar panel along with much of the roof of your home, the attic space in your roof will actually already be heating up to temperatures where the Solar Attic Fan can be helpful. The fan will automatically start moving excess hot air out of the attic and will power down when no longer needed—when the sun sets and there is no excess heat in the attic space. It’s that simple: it will work precisely as engineered.
What are the specs?
- Solar Panel: 19 Watts, 28 VOC.
- Fan: 19 Watts, 24 Volts. Rated for 50,000 hours at up to 400 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM).
- Ventilation: Approx. 1,000sq.ft. (Insulated attic area) at up to 400 (CFM).
- CSA/ESA approval not required, as product is such low voltage.
- All parts subject to a 20-year limited iSolar manufacturer’s warranty.
How does the Solar Attic Fan help electric utility companies achieve their conservation targets?
- Minimizes air-conditioner activation
- Flattens peak electricity usage when electricity prices are highest
- Reduces annual energy consumption (when a/c activated) 3.5 to 5.0 Kwh per cooling day
- Off-grid (not hard-wired)Flattens peak electricity usage when electricity prices are highest
Does the product have animal protection wire mesh?
This is not required on the iSOLAR ATTIC FAN as it fits directly inside of existing roof vents
How many iSOLAR Powered ATTIC FANS do I need on my home?
2126 Burnhamthorpe Rd. West
RPO S Common Mall
P.O. Box 67067
617 Douro Street