Creighton University: Cutting edge solar heating technology

ELM Companies has joined forces with Naked Energy to introduce cutting-edge solar technology to a university campus in Omaha, Nebraska. This innovative project involves the installation of 240 VirtuHot HD collectors on the new residence hall, providing hot water for 400 incoming students during the summer. The installation boasts a peak capacity of 69.9kilowatts peak (kWp) thermal and is expected to generate 40 metric tonnes of carbon savings annually for the dormitory.

Creighton University: Cutting edge solar heating technology


At a Glance
Who: ELM Companies and Naked Energy
What: Introduction of VirtuHOT HD solar heat collectors on Creighton University’s Graves Hall~
Where: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Why: To reduce carbon emissions and lower energy costs
When: The project’s implementation is currently underway, with an eye on long-term sustainability targets

The Challenge

According to the EIA, nearly 100 campus power facilities within 93 US universities released 5.8 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 2020, which is comparable to the emissions of 1.1 million cars.

Numerous American universities still rely heavily on fossil fuels for heating and cooling their campuses, emitting substantial amounts of carbon into the environment. This challenge is particularly prevalent, with some institutions exceeding the carbon emissions of commercial power plants.

The Solution

Naked Energy’s VirtuHOT HD collectors offer an innovative solution to this challenge. By leveraging this state-of-the-art solar heat technology, Creighton University aims to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and address sustainability goals.

The technology acts as a hybrid solar collector that combines solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal technology, to generate both electricity and heat from a single solar collector. The panels can also perform at optimal efficiency, meaning it can capture and utilise the sun’s heat for energy from up to 75°C.

VirtuHOT HD is TÜV-certified and is estimated to provide more than three times the GHG reduction per square meter compared to traditional solar PV panels. This project aligns seamlessly with the university’s broader Sustainable Creighton Initiative, which seeks to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2028.

How the Project Works

The installation of 240 VirtuHOT HD collectors at Graves Hall harnesses solar energy to heat water for the dormitory. The technology’s advanced design and engineering make it highly efficient, ensuring a sustainable energy source for the university.

The Results

The VirtuHOT HD installation is expected to generate 40 metric tonnes of carbon savings annually for the dormitory and a cleaner, more sustainable energy source for Creighton University.

Business Benefits

The project’s benefits extend to the university and its students, providing a competitive advantage in terms of sustainability and environmental responsibility. It also contributes to lowering energy costs, thereby enhancing the university’s financial stability.


While specific financial details are unavailable, the investment in VirtuHOT HD collectors is expected to deliver a substantial return on investment through energy savings and reduced carbon emissions.

Industry Context

The higher education sector in the US faces significant challenges related to carbon emissions and energy sustainability. In 2005, US institutions of higher education accounted for approximately 121 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions, or nearly 2% of total annual US GHG emissions.

By implementing this innovative solar technology, Creighton University is setting a benchmark for clean energy solutions across the country.

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