IBM Plant Installs Second InSpire® Solar Air Heating System

July 2, 2024

The IBM Bromont plant located in Bromont, QC, Canada, opened in 1972. Fifty years later, the facility continues to be a leader in innovation, technology, and continuous improvement with over $10 million invested each year in product and process development.  IBM Bromont is a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year facility where over 100,000 microelectronic modules are manufactured each week. Fully aligned to IBM’s commitment to sustainability, IBM Bromont is a role model in environmental leadership. Greenhouse gas emissions from the plant in 2021 were 63% lower than in 2005, and nearly 100% of the electricity consumed by the site comes from hydroelectricity. No wonder: the plant has striven to reduce its annual energy consumption – and its related carbon footprint – by 4%, year after year, since the early 2000’s.

IBM and InSpire® solar air heating

In 2015, IBM Bromont installed 3,000 sq.ft. of InSpire solar air heating metal wall panels, manufactured by ATAS International, Inc., to preheat the combustion air of its central boilers, responsible for steam production and heat for the entire industrial complex.  With a number of energy efficiency projects in planning, IBM called on SOFIAC, an energy service company (ESCO), to support the company’s ongoing implementation program in energy conservation and efficiency, including heating, lighting, and fuel switching, which make both environmental and business sense. SOFIAC projects, to be implemented over multiple years, are anticipated to save over 43,000 gigajoules of energy while avoiding associated GHG emissions.

Proven InSpire® wall technology adopted again

Based on its positive 2015 experience, and given the improvements made on the InSpire solar air heating system, namely the introduction of ATAS’ InSpire HP improved selective surfaces, IBM wanted the InSpire® wall to be part of the new set of energy saving opportunities implemented by SOFIAC.  The new 2,000 sq.ft. InSpire® wall, installed in October of 2023, preheats 6,000 cfm of outside air feeding the plant while reducing its carbon footprint by 12,3 tons of CO2, year after year, for the next 25 years. The InSpire wall system will remain in place, with no moving parts and virtually no maintenance, and provide monitored natural gas savings, for decades. The panels were provided and installed by Trigo Energies, ATAS’ exclusive InSpire agent for Quebec, Canada. Installation was supervised by general contractor Ecosystem, located in Quebec City. Ecosystem and IBM will be monitoring the thermal energy output of the InSpire wall over its 30-year plus service life. InSpire’s exclusive High Performance (HP) finish, in this case the Select Black color, was chosen, not only because it supplies 35% more energy than any traditional PVDF paint finish, but also for its aesthetically pleasing look.

Participants involved in this project’s success include: