Cirrex® Helps Green Building Product Go Net Zero

    Product Literature

    Solar Thermal Heating System Fit for Green Lifestyle

    Victoria Garden Mews Case Study

    Case Notes
    Project: Solar thermal water heating system helps green building development achieve net zero energy use
    Location: Victoria Garden Mews in Santa Barbara, California
    Product: A. O. Smith Cirrex® Solar Thermal Water Heating System 

    Product Highlights:
    • 16 SRCC certified OG-300 systems available in one, two and three solar collector configurations
    • Solar collectors can be added to accommodate larger system demands
    • Up to 10.1 Solar Energy Factor (SEF) ratings
    • All systems provide up to 70 percent of the energy needed for water heating directly from the sun
    • Complete systems include 80- or 120-gallon solar booster tanks, single or double wall heat exchangers, solar collectors, integrated solar pump stations with system control and mounting hardware
    • Integrated solar pump stations save space, time and money as well as provide a clean, professional-looking installation
    • All systems are eligible for a federal tax credit up to 30 percent of the installed cost (no cap) through 2016
    • Cirrex systems qualify for most federal, state, local and utility company rebate programs

    A new multi-family development in Santa Barbara, California, Victoria Garden Mews aims to become the model for “green” residential building in Southern California. Developed by Allen Associates and HartmanBaldwin, Victoria Garden Mews will demonstrate how homeowners can conserve energy and dollars by adopting and utilizing energy-efficient building products and services.

    “This project is very innovative here. This is going to be the highest rated LEED platinum home ever built,” said Zac Shore, project manager at Allen Associates. “The whole building is set up to use the sun to heat it.”

    The development consists of a Victorian-style home and three condominium units, which have been registered for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest level available. When it came time to select a high efficiency water heating solution for the condominium units, Allen Associates needed a solar water heating system that would help them attain net zero energy use. Allen Associates chose the Cirrex Solar Thermal Heating System from A. O. Smith.

    Cirrex systems provide up to 70% of the energy needed for water heating directly from the sun and have Solar Energy Factor (SEF) ratings up to 10.1. They can generate the same amount of energy photovoltaic solar panels do at one-eighth the cost.

    Victoria Garden Mews installed one Cirrex system for the entire development. The system installed has three solar collectors installed on the roof and a 120-gallon solar booster tank in the basement. And although the development hasn’t been open long, Victoria Garden Mews is already feeling the results.

    “Victoria Garden Mews creates as much energy as it uses,” Shore said. “The Cirrex is essential to that net zero design. The panels put us right over the edge. The Cirrex was really an ace in the hole to make the whole project net zero.”

    Cirrex Deluxe packaged systems from A. O. Smith include an 80- or 120-gallon solar booster tank; a single or double wall heat exchanger; one, two or three solar collectors; an integrated solar pump station; and mounting hardware. The solar thermal collectors (panels) are fastened to a roof to harness the sun’s energy. A heat transfer fluid is circulated between the solar collectors, and there is a heat exchanger near  the integrated pump station. The heat energy gained by the collectors is transferred to the water in the solar booster tank.

    “The installation went pretty seamlessly,” Shore said. “The copper runs all the way down to the basement where we’re keeping the 120-gallon tank. We just dropped the panels on. It was really thought out methodically; the whole system is complete.”

    Shore foresees the Cirrex system saving residents quite a bit of money on their heating bills as Victoria Garden Mews helps them fulfill their green living lifestyle dreams. The development also incorporates a number of other environmentally friendly innovations, including hydraulic car lifts to reduce the paving footprint; lumber originated from FSC-certified sustainably harvested forests; and on-site rainwater retention through collection, reuse, bioswales, and infiltrators. Victoria Garden Mews will also use the Cirrex system to provide hydronic forced-air heating to the condominium units, further helping the development achieve net zero energy use.

    “We’re always trying to push our clients to go for solar thermal with every project we do,” Shore said. “This is our first use of the Cirrex, and after working with A. O. Smith everything’s gone so well. We’d like to see the unit used in other projects.”

    Visit for more information on the Cirrex as well as the entire high efficiency product line from A. O. Smith.

    Cirrex® Helps Green Building Product Go Net Zero (PDF)