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Recreation Aotearoa Coronavirus resource includes advice on reducing aquatic centre operating costs during facility closures

Recreation Aotearoa Coronavirus resource includes advice on reducing aquatic centre operating costs during facility closures
April 18, 2020

Aiming to inform members during the Coronavirus shutdown, Recreation Aotearoa is releasing a series of information resources, with the latest being on how aquatic facilities can reduce operational costs during current closures.

Compiled by Nick Yannakis from Powell Fenwick, Reducing Operational Costs During COVID-19 for Aquatic Facilities, gives an overview of how to transition aquatic facilities into and out of a 'hibernation' mode.

The advice is as follows:

Going into ‘Hibernation Mode’
Turn off the pool heating for all pools and allow the pools to cool down. It is critical that this is done before any changes are made to the ventilation system. Reducing the pool water temperature as low as possible will reduce energy demand on the ventilation systems (20°C and below is good). Take the opportunity to backwash sand filters thoroughly to drain water to waste - this can also have energy savings. Note that pools can take up to three to four days to cool down.

Turn all pool water pumps and features off except the main circulation pumps for the pools. This includes steam rooms, saunas, spa jets, water toys, rapid/lazy rivers, water slides, wave pools etc.

All non-pool hall based heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can go into a reduced mode (night/un-occupied mode) immediately. Please ensure these systems are not related to the pool hall - pool hall ventilation must remain operational running until the pools are down in temperature. Note there may be some systems that are still critical to run such as data rooms, so use pre-set up controls where possible.

With the pools cold, the pool hall ventilation can be set to a reduced mode (night/un-occupied mode) and the temperature set-point can gradually be reduced. The temperature should typically be 1°C above the highest pool temperature. The dehumidification strategy should remain as per typical operation, controlling relative humidity to below 60%-65%. Please note the temperature that the pool hall was set to as this will need to be re-instated when normal operation resumes.

Once all pools are down in temperature (i.e. 20°C or below), cover the pools with thermal blankets if available, and set the temperature of the pool hall to 1°C above the warmest pool.

Please look for any condensation or water forming within the pool hall. Pay particular attention to cold surfaces such as windows.

Coming out of ‘Hibernation Mode’
Reinstate the pool hall ventilation to the original temperature set point (likely between 25-28°C) and take out of the reduced mode (night/un-occupied mode). This needs to be done before heating of the pools is reinstated.

Turn on the pool heating. Please note this will take several days and will vary based on the size of the heating source and pool. Hopefully you know how long this takes for your site based on previous shutdowns.

Turn on all non-pool hall based heating and ventilation back on prior to opening (typically the day before to re-heat the spaces).

Remove pool covers on the morning of the re-opening of the pool and reinstate all pool water pumps and features.

Information provided by Nick Yannakis of Powell Fenwick. Tel: 03 366 1777,

Click here to access Recreation Aotearoa's Coronavirus information resources.

Related Articles

1st April 2020 - Swimplex Aquatics highlight current shutdown period an ideal time for slide and pool maintenance

8th March 2020 - Aquatic facilities react to Coronavirus fears

16th April 2020 - Jonas Leisure introduces Group Move live-streamed fitness to Australia and New Zealand

3rd April 2020 - Eight out of 10 New Zealand trainers and exercise facilities now operating online

26th March 2020 - New Zealanders urged to stay out of the water during lockdown period

23rd March 2020 - New Zealand Councils close facilities

21st March 2020 - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduces alert system to halt spread of Coronavirus

1st April 2020 - Recreation Aotearoa launches dedicated Coronavirus website

23rd January 2020 - Recreation Aotearoa to stage the southern hemisphere’s biggest parks conference in Rotorua

10th January 2020 - Recreation Aotearoa and Water Safety NZ emphasise importance of parental supervision at pools

5th December 2019 - Hamilton Play Strategy gets recognition from Recreation Aotearoa

10th October 2019 - First all-female lifeguard team competes in Recreation Aotearoa Pool Lifeguard Competition

8th June 2019 - Recreation Aotearoa releases aquatic facility design guide

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