Looking to reduce the environmental impact of old oil fired boilers, Parks Canada had the bright idea to install a solar hot water system at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.

With 381 square kilometres of rolling hills and waterways, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site in Nova Scotia is a pristine wilderness where generations of families have canoed, camped, and connected with nature. Designated as a national historic site due to its cultural landscape that attests to the presence of the Mi’kmaq and their ancestors, Kejimkujik is home to the greatest diversity of reptiles and amphibians in Atlantic Canada. This biodiversity hotspot is not only home to some of Canada’s rarest southerly species, it now boasts an innovative and efficient way to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Kejimkujik’s old oil fired boilers were replaced by a new system that uses solar energy to provide hot water for the park’s shower building. Eight solar collectors were mounted on the roof to collect and convert sunlight into heat energy. In order to supply enough hot water for the 19 newly installed low-flow showerheads and two sinks, the solar hot water systems perform three simple operations. First, sunlight is collected and converted to heat energy using solar collectors. As sunlight passes through the collectors’ glazing, it strikes an absorbing material, which converts the sunlight into heat. The glazing prevents the heat from escaping. The solar-heated water in the collector is then pumped to insulated storage tanks until it is needed in the showers. As this is a seasonal building the system is drained each fall to prevent freezing.

For smaller systems, such as washrooms, the pump can be powered by a small photovoltaic panel located beside the collector with conventional electrical supply as a backup.

Project Benefits

So far, the solar hot water system has been a great success! Not only has it reduced the park’s reliance on oil, but the solar-powered system has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to provide energy savings year after year. Solar hot water systems like the one at Kejimkujik have great potential to be replicated and Parks Canada has been looking to install them in Parks across the nation, while encouraging other organizations to do the same.

Parks Canada is pleased to provide green technology that enhances the visitors' experience by providing a service that meets their needs and is good for the environment.