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Innovative solar technology installed at Graves Hall

Oct 11, 2023
2 min Read
Graves Hall Solar Tubes

Creighton University’s Graves Hall is the first North American facility to use VirtuHOT HD, a next-generation solar thermal collector from Naked Energy, implemented by ELM Solar of ELM Companies, Naked Energy’s North American distributor. VirtuHOT HD will significantly save on water heating costs and assist the university in achieving sustainability goals. The new residence hall opened at the beginning of the semester and is home to 400 first-year Creighton students.
“To partner with ELM and Naked Energy in bringing this innovative approach to energy conservation to our campus in Omaha is a tremendous opportunity for Creighton University,” said Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “This breakthrough technology aligns seamlessly with our Sustainable Creighton Initiative by putting us in an even stronger position to care for our common home. With the installation of the VirtuHOT HD system, we are creating a cutting-edge campus environment that will help our students and planet thrive into the future.” 
When placed on the roof of Graves Hall, VirtuHOT HD collectors use the sun’s power to heat the dormitory’s water while saving money on energy costs. VirtuHOT HD‘s low profile (measuring 10.4 inches high) and modular design feature angled absorber plates that collect more sunlight than traditional solar panels. This maximizes the potential of the roof space by generating more energy per square foot than any other solar technology. The installation at Graves Hall is expected to generate 237,000 BTU (69.9 kW) of thermal energy.

Creighton presented us with an ambitious goal, and the new system at Graves Hall will help the University meet its sustainability goals and control costs.
— Christophe Williams

“Solar thermal technology has enormous potential because it takes the task of heating water, a major source of energy cost in any building, off the power grid, resulting in savings for the building owner and less stress on the grid,” said ELM Founder and Chairman Lee C. Graves. “The Naked Energy and ELM teams have done an outstanding job designing and installing this game-changing technology.” 
The U.S. Department of Energy says energy use for heating water accounts for around 20% of household energy use, and grid connection requests grew by 40% in 2022. As grids across the country are put under increasing strain, the risk of grid instability rises in tandem. Innovative solar thermal systems such as VirtuHOT HD take water heating demands off-grid, freeing up grid capacity for other uses. 
“Creighton presented us with an ambitious goal, and the new system at Graves Hall will help the University meet its sustainability goals and control costs. We’re proud that this is the first North American deployment of VirtuHOT HD,” said Naked Energy CEO Christophe Williams. “We look forward to working with ELM Solar to expand Virtu’s rollout in North America, so we can continue decarbonizing heat and changing energy for good.”