Sun Light & Power, a San Francisco Bay Area solar design-build contractor, teamed with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America partner the Alliance for Residential Building Innovation (ARBI) to study this heat-loss issue. The team added three-way valves to the solar water heating systems for two 40-unit multifamily buildings. In these systems, when the stored solar hot water is warmer than the recirculated hot water returning from the buildings, the valves divert the returning water to the solar storage tank instead of the water heater. This strategy allows solar-generated heat to be applied to recirculation heat loss in addition to heating water that is consumed by fixtures and appliances.