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Scott BennettAs published by the Brooklin Town Crier - January 29, 2010

by Scott Bennett

Peter Watson, Owner, Tranquility Home ComfortThe green economy has started, and what better place to look for examples of that than in our own community? Tranquility Home Comfort is a Brooklin-based heating and cooling (HVAC) business. Owner Peter Watson started his business in 2005 and did his first solar water heating installation in the same year. In my last article, I interviewed the Hachey family of Brooklin who had a solar water heating system installed by Peter's company.

Over the last five years, solar water heating systems have progressively become a larger part of Peter's business. The most significant increase in customers wanting solar water heating systems came after Enbridge Gas Distribution, Bullfrog Power, and EnerWorks formed a partnership in the spring of 2009, and began providing solar water systems to residents of Ontario. Tranquility joined this partnership and is now the installer of the solar systems for the Greater Toronto East region, which encompasses an area as far as Peterborough.

When I talked with Peter about his business he walked me through the process of having a solar system installed in your home. He told me that “installing solar water heating systems requires a bit of planning”. The first step is to determine if your house is suitable, meaning there is space available on a south or south-west sloping roof. Once that is determined, Tranquility will do a site inspection to understand where the equipment will be setup (solar panels, water tank, pump, and plumbing).

The second step is to have an energy auditor evaluate the energy efficiency of your home so you can qualify for government rebates. Without the audit, you won't be able to receive the rebates.

Tranquility typically installs the solar water heating system in a day, and you will get a demonstration on how to run the system, which is no more complex than running a furnace. The final step in the process is to have the energy auditor back in to do the final assessment and submit the paperwork to request the grants. There is $3,300 available in grants from the federal and provincial government, taking the cost of a $7,600 solar water heating system down to $4,300 after rebates. This system will not only save you 50% in water heating costs, it will also reduce your impact on the environment.

Solar Water Heating InstallerPeter has many satisfied customers, including Dave Hachey, from Brooklin. Dave was impressed by the work of Peter and his team, saying “it was a really smooth process – they came in and told us what they would do – and they followed through and did it. They even assisted in getting an energy auditor back in.”

Peter is happy with the growth he is seeing in solar water heating systems and expects to install over 200 systems this year. I think it's fantastic to see Tranquility thriving in the start of the new green economy. Peter has shown me that being a green leader is a good business choice.

Anyone interested in solar water heating, can contact Tranquility Home Comfort at (905) 623-4242.

For more ideas on how to go green, see our green tips for heating and cooling.