Alternative Energy Lab

Enhancing Student and Industry Opportunities

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

The official grand opening for the Alternative Energy Lab took place in February 2019, and complete details are available in the media release. As a teaching and learning lab, RDC students learn in and from the facility. The space is also 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 real-time, applied learning opportunities are available for RDC students. This allows them to build familiarity and confidence with alternative energy systems they are most likely to encounter in their careers.

Solar photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roof of the lab. These allow students and industry researchers to study data and information about energy generation by replicating real-world conditions, such as installation and seasonal variance. Students also learn from and analyze data generated by RDC's other 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 Trades wing of the main building.

Equipment within the lab has been designed with mirrored technology in mind, replicating and simulating systems associated with alternative energy production units. RDC has combined heat and power units, one which produces energy for the campus and is located just outside the lab, and another smaller unit inside the lab, where students can learn on similar technology.

Industry Training and Applied Research

RDC’s Alternative Energy Lab provides an applied research venue, allowing the College to work with and support innovators in the region through research and customized industry training.

The flexible configuration of the lab provides 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 serves 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 is utilized and analyzed in the lab, allowing for assessment related to energy production, utilization, and distribution. Through the Alternative Energy Lab, RDC has the capability to offer third-party validation of new alternative energy technologies, helping innovators answer the applied research questions they would like to explore related to their energy innovation.

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 is LEED Silver, demonstrating both active and passive solar strategies and a teaching Combined Heat & Power unit

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