|Recreation center pools go solar|
|Written by Jeff Wood|
|Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:00|
Cottonwood City Council approved a contract with Emcor Services Arizona for the design and preconstruction of a solar thermal system at the Cottonwood Recreation Center.
The system would use approximately 80 solar thermal roof panels, according to preliminary estimates, and would provide hot water for the indoor pool, outdoor pool, spa, showers and sinks.
According to Scott Mangarpan, project manager for the city of Cottowood, the cost savings for solar-heated hot water outweigh the savings for providing solar-powered electricity.
Mangarpan also added the city “always wanted to do it, but the budget was so that the city was not comfortable committing to it” because it “didn’t want to have to give up something else for it.”
The exact savings from the project are yet to be determined, depending on approval for a final design, which is to be developed.
One of the challenges of designing the new system will be to “put as much of a system in there as practical” to avoid “undersizing” or “oversizing,” Mangarpan said. An undersized system would not cover all of the heating expenses for the recreation center. An oversized system would result in a waste of unusable hot water.
More details on the cost of the system will be available when Emcor presents a design, cost and expected recovery to the City Council, which should happen in about a month.
Aside from the money saved by the potential new system, swimmers who use the outdoor pool might be able to take advantage of extended periods of use for the outdoor pool due to lower operating expenses. However, lower operating expenses would have to be balanced with higher operating expenses.
According to Jason Little, recreation center general manager, the center has been approached by groups to extend the season for the outdoor pool. He said the recreation center will “research any and all opportunities to extend the outdoor season, if it makes fiscal sense.”
If the design and approval process runs smoothly, panels, pipes and other equipment could be installed and running as early as fall 2012.