Aquatic centre to get energy efficient upgrades

When the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre closes this month for its annual maintenance, major energy efficiency upgrades will be part of the work.

The 10-year-old facility, which served more than five million people since it opened in 2001, will receive upgrades consistent with the city's energy conservation policy and provincial sustainability goals.

The work will take place from Sep. 3-30 and the facility will re-open Oct. 1. The weight room will re-open Sept. 19.

"Not only will these upgrades save us money in the long run, they will help us achieve our goals toward a more sustainable existence," said Coun. Diana Johnstone, who is also chairwoman of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.

The planned upgrades include: replacing the current ozone water treatment system with an ultraviolet system, which will reduce annual operating costs by $20,000 through a reduction of 322,000 kilowatt hours; low flow showers in the change rooms; condensing natural gas boilers; improving heat recovery from change room exhaust air; and adding new variable frequency drives on water pumps.

The work is expected to save the city about $80,000 annually in operational costs.

The electrical upgrades will cost $250,599, though the city will receive a B.C. Hydro incentive for $111,000 toward the total. The cost for the new boilers is pegged at $170,200, of which $19,950 will be covered by a FortisBC incentive.

The upgrades were included in the 2011 operations budget.

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