Commercial Pool Heating Case Study: Southwestern Community College

Commercial Pool Heating Case Study: Southwestern Community College
July 15, 2003


Sometimes when you see things from a distance, they look good.
Sometimes, although not often, when you get closer they look even better. This project,
pictured above, definitely fits into the category of the closer you get the better it looks. These three outdoor pools at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, California
are solar heated by one of the largest Ecosun Solar Pool Heating Systems installed in the United States. Ameco Solar of Long Beach, California, an Aquatherm Industries’ Master Dealer since 1999 faced a number of challenges in accomplishing this installation. The first was securing this 133-collector system without making a penetration to the roof which is a Hypalon TM fabric and any penetrations would void the warranty. Pat Redgate of Ameco Solar developed a criss-cross method of securing the collectors to the subsurface and the building rafters. A close up picture reveals the innovative latticework of the polypropylene-coated stainless steel strapping.

The centralized pool hydraulics also presented Pat with another challenge. His unique approach was to design a system with four separate independent heating zones. This resulted in the filtration rates being identical whether the solar system is on or off.

Would Ameco Solar do a similar project again? “You bet,” says Pat Redgate, “It’s very nice to have some commercial projects to show a potential residential customer. It really adds credibility to your presentation.”

The college is extremely pleased with the operation of the solar pool heating system: “It is really working very well” says Gary Paulsen, head of facilities management at Southwestern. The energy services company who proposed the total energy savings project to Southwestern is happy as well. The payback on the pool heating system is so quick, it helped other portions of the project which made the total energy saving package more attractive to the school administration. The project’s first year savings alone is estimated to be 15% and significantly higher when the project is completely capitalized and funded. The energy services company will most certainly include solar pool heating in future projects.

With all the savings involved, this is truly a “Gold Medal” Installation, where everybody comes out winning. For more information about this and how other community pools could save on heating costs, call us at Aquatherm Industries at 1-800-227-7657.