Thanks to a $20,000 contribution from ASHRAE, sevent Polytechnique students design and install a solar power system at Accueil Bonneau

During its annual convention in 2011, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) gave $20,000 to seven Polytechnique Montréal mechanical engineering students to undertake a sustainable development project. The project, headed by two Polytechnique professors, Michel Bernier and Michaël Kummert, in partnership with the Montréal chapter of ASHRAE, consisted in designing and implementing a solar power system for the domestic water heater at Accueil Bonneau in Montréal to help the shelter for the homeless reduce its energy consumption. Mission accomplished! The water heater was installed, and has been in operation at Accueil Bonneau since August. 
October 11, 2011

A truly practical engineering project!

Under the supervision of Mr. Kummert, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the students managed to reach their academic goals while furthering a social cause by offering Accueil Bonneau a winning partnership.  

As Professor Kummert said, "This motivating project allowed the students in question to experience a very real aspect of an engineer's work. The stages of a normal project design and implementation process were undertaken with great success, and above all, with great professionalism. The design aspect involved numerous sub-steps, including quantification of the client's needs, simulation of the system's performance, preliminary plans, approvals from industry experts, funding applications and permit requests, because Accueil Bonneau is classed as a heritage building." The plans and estimates were created with the help of engineers from the firm Pageau Morel, who also supervised and assisted the students throughout the project. The installation was conducted by entrepreneurs specialized in the field.

A gift that keeps on giving

The results speak for themselves! The new solar power system and wastewater heat recovery device will provide about one-third of Accueil Bonneau's hot water needs. The shelter will save 6,200 cubic metres of gas per year, or $3,600 on its gas bill, as well as producing 12.2 fewer tonnes of CO2. Over the lifespan of the equipment, Accueil Bonneau will save $65,000, or more than three times the ASHRAE donation.

The students involved

Six of the seven students involved took part in the project's design and implementation phase. They were Julien-Pierre Lapointe, Francis Lanthier, Guillaume Blouin, David Papillon, Francis Carrier and project manager Marie-Claude Vallières. For the system's performance monitoring phase, Yannick Assenat joined the team.

Project partners

The following partners made this project possible: ASHRAE and its Montréal chapter, Accueil Bonneau, Polytechnique Montréal, Pageau Morel, SDK, Kinu Énergie and Kingspan Solar / Thermomax, Kolostat, Gaz Métro and the CTGN. A number of companies also contributed to the project by providing equipment donations, time donations or discounts. They are: Axiom, Caleffi, Deschênes, Isolation Élite, Enviroair, Guay, Solénove Énergie Québec and Taco.

Left to right : Guillaume Blouin, étudiant; Marie-Claude Vallières, étudiante;  Nicolas Lemire, associé principal, Pageau Morel; Roland Charneux, directeur général et associé principal, Pageau Morel; Michel Bernier, professeur titulaire, École Polytechnique de Montréal; Caroline Paquet, présidente de ASHRAE Montréal; Michaël Kummert, professeur adjoint, École Polytechnique de Montréal; Francis Lanthier, étudiant; David Papillon, étudiant; Francis Carrier, étudiant; Julien-Pierre Lapointe, étudiant; Yannick Assenat, étudiant.


ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is an international organization of over 50,000 persons. ASHRAE fulfills its mission of advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education.  The Montréal chapter was founded in 1936 and has more than 500 members.


Founded in 1956, PAGEAU MOREL is a specialized firm in the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, energy efficiency and ecodesign. PAGEAU MOREL supplies high-tech solutions to its clients and employs today more than 175 individuals, 140 of which are located at their Montreal head offices. Above its corporate mission, PAGEAU MOREL always maintains at its core the protection of the environment as well as sustainable development. PAGEAU MOREL's passion of innovation is well recognized in the industry as it has granted them over 50 prizes and distinctions over the last few years, 10 of them being International prizes, proof of its knowledge in energy efficiency and ecodesign based projects.

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering university in Québec for the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With over 37,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has graduated 25% of the current members of the l'Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 16 engineering specialties, has 241 professors and more than 6,900 students. It has an annual operating budget of over $200 million, including a $72-million research budget.

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