Alternative Energy Lab

Enhancing Student and Industry Opportunities

As part of Red Deer College's larger Alternative Energy Initiative, the new Alternative Energy Lab will create opportunities for alternative energy education and research. The lab will assist industry and research, while also providing RDC students with the skills necessary to install, operate and maintain alternative energy systems.

The official ground-breaking for the Alternative Energy Lab took place in August 2017, and complete details are available on the media release. Currently under construction, the lab will open in spring 2018, when RDC students will begin learning in and from the facility. The space will also be used to engage and support central Alberta businesses wanting to explore alternative energy production options.


RDC Teaching and Learning 

More than 1,000 RDC students are expected to utilize the Alternative Energy Lab each year, and learners in programs such as Engineering Technologies, Electrician, Instrumentation and Control Technician, Carpenter and more will benefit from the facility.

The lab has been designed to provide a physical and virtual platform for learning about alternative energy systems, and all facets of the space will provide learning opportunities. Students will have hands-on learning experiences to build familiarity and confidence with alternative energy systems they are most likely to encounter in their careers. They will also be able to learn from and analyze data generated by RDC's alternative energy sources, including the solar panels installed on the new Residence, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris and the roof of the Alternative Energy Lab.

Equipment within the lab has been designed to replicate and simulate systems associated with alternative energy production units, allowing for learning without impacting the actual production units from RDC's alternative energy generation. With the capacity for group learning and interaction with the small-scale replicas of the solar and Combined Heat and Power units, the lab allows learners to manipulate equipment and conduct simulations of energy systems first-hand. An accessible roof terrace with optimum sun exposure will provide demonstration of alternative energy systems with interchangeable components, supporting learning about installation, troubleshooting and repair.


Industry Training and Applied Research

RDC will use the Alternative Energy Lab to engage and help support central Alberta businesses that are exploring alternative energy production options. Customized industry training and applied research projects will be pursued in areas of industry demand. 

The flexible configuration of the lab will provide the ability to adapt to new energy systems and technologies as they emerge, ensuring all teaching, demonstration and research activities are relevant and up-to-date.

The lab will serve as a data hub to increase knowledge and awareness for industry and consumers, as well as research. Data generated through RDC's alternative energy generation will be utilized and analyzed in the lab, allowing for assessment related to energy production, utilization and distribution. The intention is for the Alternative Energy Lab to be recognized as an impartial resource for alternative energy information suited to central Alberta, while also providing a venue for advanced industry training and conducting research on new technologies.


Lab Specifications

  • 5,274 square-foot, high volume and flexible open learning lab
  • Several project rooms and a large storage mezzanine for demonstration equipment
  • Trainers inside the lab can be operated and manipulated to help learners develop an understanding of energy production
  • Lab will be LEED Silver, demonstrating both active and passive solar strategies and a teaching Combined Heat & Power unit