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Shrink the Power Bill

Pacific Park Pool in Glendale, Calif.

Until recently, residents in Glendale, Calif., who didn't want to endure the heat were stuck indoors through the summer months. But that all changed with the addition of the Pacific Park Pool, which opened in the summer of 2011. Now the pool offers more than just a chance to cool off—it also provides a showcase of green pool design, with plenty of good ideas for reducing energy use.

The Pacific Park Pool includes a 4,900-square-foot, six-lane pool with a separate instructional area, a 3,100-square-foot pool house building including public restrooms and showers, a staff work area, pool equipment and storage, and a pool deck area with seat walls and shade structures. Green features are abundant due to the city's mandate for a green building. Here, we'll focus on the energy-saving features of the facility.

The pool facility features two arrays of photovoltaic panels, one on the flat roof of the building and another atop the shade structures on the south side of the pool. In total, the panels generate about 22,000 kWh of energy per year, providing around 40 percent of the building's energy demand.

The state-of-the-art, high-tech shade structures not only host the photovoltaic panels, they also provide a pleasant spot to get out of the sun, as well as an aesthetically pleasing element at poolside.

In addition, the building is designed to exceed California's Title 24 building energy performance requirements. Energy consumption is reduced for the building with high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, duct insulation, a "super" insulated building envelope and high-performance windows. In addition, the facility's lighting fixtures and controls are designed to dim during the day when daylight is present, while occupancy sensors turn off lights when they're not needed. In addition, the light-colored roof of the facility reduces the heat island effect, boosting the energy savings associated with cooling the building.