Eglin Air Force Base Cuts Costs and Goes Solar with Aquatherm Solar Pool Heater

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Compass Solar, an Aquatherm Industries Master Dealer, recently installed a 160 collector solar pool heating system on the East Gate pool at the Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, FL.

The solar heating system at Eglin AFB will give swimmers a longer, more comfortable swimming season.

Facility operators at the base wanted to maximize the use of the pool with a heater, but did not want to incur the high costs traditionally associated with heating...Solar was proposed as the most cost-effective solution.

With an ongoing push by the United States government to go green, most military installations start with their biggest energy hogs – in many cases a swimming pool or aquatic training facility. Heating a pool with natural gas, propane, or electric by means of a conventional fossil-fuel heater consumes a massive amount of energy and can cost thousands of dollars a month to maintain a comfortable temperature.

The 13,635 square foot pool at Eglin Air Force base in Valparaiso, FL is used for recruit training and exercise, as well as recreation and leisure. Facility operators at the base wanted to maximize the use of the pool with a heater, but did not want to incur the high costs traditionally associated with heating. Heating a large commercial pool with a conventional fossil-fuel heater can cost upwards of several thousands of dollars each month. Solar was proposed as the most cost-effective solution to keeping Eglin’s pool at a comfortable temperature for the many soldiers and civilians who use the pool regularly.

Compass Solar of Pensacola, FL was called in to perform a site survey and provide an analysis to operators. Sean Gardner, owner of Compass, has been selling and installing Aquatherm’s Ecosun brand of solar pool heating systems for over 10 years – with a number of large commercial solar pool heating projects under his belt – and is an Ecosun Master Dealer.

Based on Sean’s analysis and company reputation, Eglin hired Compass Solar to install 164 Ecosun Solar Pool Heater Collectors, mounted on eight custom all-aluminum ground racks. The racks range in size from 52’ long to as long as 104’ long and are anchored by 160 2’ x 4’ concrete footers poured using round forms.

Sean and his crew completed the massive installation in less than 2 months, and the system will be going live an estimated 7-10 days after this release. The system is expected to generate 5.9 million BTUs daily, offsetting approximately 1.7 Megawatts daily.

About The Commercial Pool Heating Market
Swimming pools at businesses such as hotels, resorts, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, health clubs, camps and schools are perfect candidates for a solar pool heater, since owners and operators have no choice but to keep their pools at a comfortable temperature. According to industry statistics, there are over 186,000 heated commercial pools nationwide. Of these pools, approximately 39%, or 115,540 are indoor; meaning they must be heated year round. In addition, there are over 70,000 outdoor heated pools that are heated seasonally or year round.

Most of these pools are heated with fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, or heat pumps. This increases the U.S. dependence on imported fuels and pollutes the air. Furthermore, fossil fuel prices fluctuate significantly and are expected to rise over the next decade. Instead, solar pool heating systems can provide a clean, domestic and affordable way to reduce the monthly energy bill for heating commercial swimming pools.

If all these pools were heated with natural gas, the annual heating load would produce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving 6.6 million average cars a total of 12,500 miles each!

Why Ecosun?
Aquatherm’s flagship product was first introduced in 1990 and has evolved into the industry standard with its fluted surface design and patented venting system. When used with our stainless steel mounting system, only Ecosun combines the strength and high performance of a solid collector with the benefits of ventilation and reduced wind load. Ecosun is certified or listed by SRCC, FSEC, IAPMO, The City of Los Angles and CSA and even survived a grueling EMMAQUA 23-year accelerated weathering test in the Arizona desert. In addition, Aquatherm Industries Solar Pool Heating Collectors are now the only NSF-50 certified solar pool heating collectors in the world, meeting strict commercial pool requirements for safety, durability and toxicity.

For commercial uses, the Ecosun Solar Pool Heating System is available with a heavy-duty 2" manifold system, designed to be compatible with commercial-grade high flow, high-efficiency pool filtration systems. The durability built into the design of our efficient solar pool heaters makes them ideally suited to commercial applications


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Molly Friar