In 2012 Lakeland College renovated a former farmhouse and turned it into the Renewable Energy Learning Centre (RELC), a multi-systems research and demonstration site. This centre was designed and operates as a net-zero energy classroom and office building. This unique facility is the centrepiece of the college’s renewable energy research.
There are very few research locations with the capacity to test the number of aspects of renewable energy systems integrated into the Renewable Energy Learning Centre:
- geothermal boreholes are each uniquely designed to gather data over time for industry on variations of borehole size, grouting, and pipe installation
- two geothermal heat pumps, an electric and gas adsorption heat pump, are available for testing along with a conventional boiler system
- fixed and tracking solar arrays are installed, and production is measured separately
- solar thermal has the potential to be used for building heat, domestic hot water pre-heat, charging the geothermal field, and activating phase change materials.