Oregon startup refining solar-powered rooftop ventilator

The installation of a SunCooler unit, developed by Yamhill-based Northwest Renewable Energy Corp.
Courtesy Oregon BEST

The installation of a SunCooler unit, developed by Yamhill-based Northwest Renewable Energy Corp.

An Oregon startup landed a commercialization grant from Oregon BEST that will fund its work with the Oregon Institute of Technology to refine its solar-powered building ventilator for a national product launch.

Northwest Renewable Energy Corp. in Yamhill developed the SunCooler Destratifier, a solar-powered, rooftop-mounted building ventilator that has applications for buildings including big-box superstores and agricultural warehouses.

Using a $20,000 grant from the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center, known as Oregon BES, Northwest Renewable will work with Sean Sloan, a professor at Oregon Institute of Technology, to test the unit and generate data to back up claims about the product's energy savings potential.

"As with all small businesses, finances are tight, so this grant provides timely, crucial support to validate, quantify and document the energy savings potential of the SunCooler and help us expand in the marketplace," said Jason Wright, president and CEO of Northwest Renewable, in a press release.

Wright said he has fielded some interest from big-box retailers. The company has already installed SunCooler units on a prison building, a modular classroom, and the National Guard armory in Redmond.

The SunCooler is designed to work with a building's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system by collecting and storing solar power and supplementing ventilation without tapping grid power. During cool weather the device can "recycle" warm air that has risen to the ceiling by redistributing it to the floor. In heat, the unit pulls out excess heat and humidity.

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