Co-generation Application at a Health Club
Full service health clubs, defined as those that are equipped with pools and spas, tend to have unique energy consumption patterns. Such facilities require high constant thermal inputs to maintain state mandated temperatures of 84° F pool and 104° F spa (State of Massachusetts). These clubs, many of which were built around 1970 (at the beginning of the social trend toward better fitness) usually feature a 20 yard by 10 yard pool and a six person spa. Older clubs in particular are still utilizing much of their original equipment, which is inefficient by current standards. The large surface area of the pool acts as a natural radiator and requires a large input of energy to maintain the legal temperature. In today’s economic climate, losing energy through inefficient heating is quite literally pouring money down the drain.
These conditions can be improved, and costs can be reduced. Any health club that maintains pool and spa equipment and incurs total energy costs of $200,000+ per year should consider a co-generation application.
A privately owned health club in Worcester County, MA was built circa 1970 and is housed in a metal frame structure that is typical of many such facilities. It currently has over 5,000 members. The club features indoor and outdoor (seasonal) swimming, an indoor spa, fitness, gymnasium, aerobics, and stationary cycling areas, along with four tennis courts that are enclosed in a separate heated, inflatable structure.
The club also has a child care facility and several other businesses that sublet space. The facility utilizes over $250,000 per year of energy costs (2005 – 2006 period). These costs are rapidly escalating and management needs to remediate the situation. The facility is presently constrained to use #2 heating oil as no natural gas service is presently available for the immediate location. The club recently contacted SES for a thorough energy audit and analysis.