UBC Undergraduate Research

Patio heaters Cornell, Dylan; Frigon, Blake; Karim, Khalid


The Perch is an AMS owned rooftop restaurant in the new student union building. The patio was originally only meant for summertime use, however AMS would like to extend patio use into the spring and autumn seasons. Conventional restaurant standard is to use propane heaters but due to the new LEED certification requirements, sustainability is the main priority. Therefore the purpose of our investigation was to discover or create a heating option for the Perch patio that would surpass propane heaters in sustainability. Evidently, the requirements also entailed that the solution had to be economically viable and socially acceptable. In other words, the outright cost of the solution as well as the maintenance and implementation must be outweighed by the return, and the solution must keep the public satisfied and comfortable. Solution constraints regarding implementation were given by Chiyi Tam during the Sustainability Project Workshop. Chiyi stated that the solution would require little to no structural implications as the solution would be implemented post construction and the SUB opening was already delayed as it is. This lead to another constraint, since structure integration would not be allowed, the solution must not obstruct the staff or customers, or become a tripping hazard. Chiyi also mentioned that since the patio setup would be dynamic, the solution was required to be either mobile, or unaffected by a change in the setup. To recap, the overall intent of our investigation was to discover, repurpose or create a heating solution for the patio. This solution must be financially feasible, socially acceptable as well as be non-structural, unobstructive and unaffected by any changes in the table layout. Our investigation consisted of research into three core solution categories: Mainstream heating appliances, alternative fuel sources and applications, and outside the box scenario analysis. During an APSC 261 assignment, we were requested to provide ten references, five of which were peer-reviewed. We took this as an opportunity to assemble a list of references on several different technologies and applications that could potentially be developed into a functional and sustainable solution. After the list was compiled, we assessed the options we had found and narrowed the list down to three unique technologies. The three technologies are the following: ● Photovoltaic panel charging stations (Solar Panels) ● Infrared heaters ● Kitchen heat exhaust recycling. Solar energy systems provide clean energy which can be stored for later use. Excess can also be sold to BC Hydro increasing profits. AMS LEED certification goals would also highly benefit from such a sustainable solution. Though local applications suggest that solar use has the potential to succeed, from a financial standpoint, the solution may not be viable though long term benefits may outweigh the cost. Infrared heaters provide quiet, fast, and efficient heat. They come in varying sizes which is valuable with limited structural implementation. Additionally, as infrared heaters can be powered with electricity, environmental impact is minimal. The financial analysis gave positive findings demonstrating a surprisingly low short term cost. Kitchen exhaust recycling is a recently developed technology that is slowly growing in popularity. The exhaust could be filtered with common air filter techniques such as active carbon filtering to provide clean hot air to patio occupants. This solution would be repurposing previously wasted energy and thusly would be providing a dual effect, lessening environmental impacts by the SUB as well as contributing to the LEED certification with an exponential factor. Implementation would be the greatest obstacle and though heat distribution effectiveness may also be a concern. After considering all the findings from above, we have decided that the best solution for the Perch would be a two part concurrent system. This system would consist of a ventilation duct that would repurpose wasted heat exhaust from the restaurants kitchen, filter any volatile organic compounds such as unwanted smells and/or chemicals and direct this heat onto patio occupants. This repurposing system would be working in tandem with the second part of the solution, infrared heaters. These heaters would ideally be mounted along the restaurants wall above the doors to avoid any hindrance. They are efficient, effective and can be powered by electrical plugins and would supplement the ventilation heater to ensure customer satisfaction. That being said, increased insulation on the ventilation ducts would ensure less heat loss making the primary system much more effective and thusly reducing energy costs from the infrared heaters. With the combination of the two heaters, customers would be sufficiently comfortable enough to enjoy their patio experience without any problems due to temperature. The platinum SEED accreditation would also benefit from the repurposing of wasted energy, and a sustainable SUB could be leveraged to promote AMS branding. A more detailed assessment of our investigation can be found below. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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