ACHRNEWS

Dehumidification Helps Provide Inviting Atmosphere

January 26, 2001
Billed as the oldest cottage colony in existence, Cambridge Beaches Resort boasts clientele from around the globe because of its beautiful, tranquil surroundings. For nearly 100 years the resort, nestled on a private, 25-acre peninsula at the western tip of Bermuda, has built its reputation as a romantic getaway for couples of all ages.

According to president and ceo Michael Winfield, the resort was originally conceived in the early 1900s. It was already considered an ideal location by Bermuda natives and visitors alike as a great spot to bask in the sun along its ample sandy beaches.

Its attractions include snorkeling, reef or deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, and scuba diving along one of five area beaches. Cambridge Beaches is also five minutes away from championship golf at Port Royal; resort guests have access to private and public courses. There are also tennis courts and sailing, and a short ferry ride takes vacation shoppers to nearby Hamilton.

Winfield, who has overseen the operation of Cambridge Beaches for nearly 20 years, said the resort started as a cottage community because that was the desired environment for resorts of the era, as opposed to the high-rise layout of many modern resorts.

Many North American visitors perceive Bermuda as having cold winters. The reality is that Ber-muda, a subtropical island, has balmy, spring-like temperatures in the winter but there are occasional days of wind/rain.

Winfield said the resort needed a year-round structure that gave a virtual weather guarantee so that guests could find themselves in a pampering environment even on the odd bad day. So in the mid- 1990s, management decided to create a new facility, the Aquarium Baths & Ocean Spa.



10,000-Sq-Ft ‘Cottage’

John Kaufmann of Bermuda’s Tranquillity Studio Ltd. was selected for the task of designing and engineering the facility. As senior architect, it was his duty to create a structure measuring approximately 10,000 sq ft while still maintaining a cottage ambience.

As a result, Kaufmann em-ployed certain architectural techniques to fool the eye as to the facility’s sheer size and also create an all-weather effect throughout the building. Kaufmann included a number of aquatic features such as a Roman-style indoor pool, private whirlpools, and an exercise pool to swim against different current speeds.

With an abundance of aquatic activities throughout the facility, Kaufmann saw a need to install a dehumidification system to prevent excessive moisture buildup often associated with enclosed pool areas. So after some initial research into dehumidification systems, he discovered that a local Bermuda installer was familiar with the same company he was already leaning toward — Heat Recovery Technology, Inc., and its dehumidification system.

The aquatic features of the new facility were situated on two levels: the main floor, which includes the pools, solarium, and fitness center; and a lower spa level that houses a variety of mineral baths, whirlpools, and other relaxation treatments. The challenge facing Kaufmann was to design air distribution for the dehumidification system to work on both levels with equal efficiency.

Additionally, the upper level that housed the pools has a retractable roof that would remain open, weather permitting.



Keep the View

Kaufmann decided to install a PoolPak Model AW3500 for the main level for humidity control. According to the manufacturer, this model has a capacity of removing 59 lb of moisture/hr at 82°F/60% rh.

Kaufmann felt it had ample size to handle all the pools when the sunroof was closed. Total environmental control was critical to the success of the new building for a number of reasons.

“When we designed [the facility], we wanted a lot of glass, in the ceiling and walls extensively, to give the feel of being outdoors,” said Winfield. “The last thing we wanted was to have those windows, with some of the most spectacular views of Bermuda, fogged up from humidity.”

Also important was the comfort of guests. With the solarium located off of the main pool, guests would naturally be expected to lounge and enjoy the view. Therefore, it was necessary to maintain a constant temperature of about 82°, with low humidity, to provide optimal comfort.

Humidity control also acts to prevent corrosive condensation problems associated with indoor pools, such as mildew, rust, concrete percolation, and paint blistering.



Remove Humidity

Kaufmann also had to be concerned with the lack of ventilation in the facility’s lower level where various spa treatments took place, including the use of saunas and mineral baths. Because this area was located below ground level with no natural ventilation, temperature and humidity control had to be in operation at all times. For this area, he opted to install two smaller Model HCD150s, designed to remove 15.5 lb of moisture/hr, allowing for a separate environment control system on this level.

In Kaufmann’s opinion, many buildings are kept too cool, especially in warmer climates such as Bermuda, because air conditioners are on full time and at temperatures set for uncomfortable levels that do not promote moisture removal. “The best way to maintain a comfortable temperature is to remove humidity,” he said.

Kaufmann added that it makes sense to install a dehumidification system rather than depend on straight air conditioning or other means for comfort in an indoor pool environment.

Winfield has seen places without dehumidification systems, where “You can’t see out the windows because of the condensation, and the strong smell of chlorine mixed with the heat of a sauna” is enough to bring a person to their knees.

“I really like the [units’] ability to bring humidity down and the fact that a reheat condenser uses the same energy from the dehumidification process to return warmth to pool water or air space,” Kaufmann said. Although it rarely gets cold in the subtropical climate, there are still times when the units can return pool water to a desired temperature, even if the surrounding air is already at a suitable level.

“The most important aspect of these units, short of energy savings, is that they accomplish [humidity removal] in the most economical way for both cost and design concerns,” said Kaufmann.

Cambridge Beaches has received several awards over the years as an exclusive, world-class cottage colony resort, including the 1998 “World’s Best” hotel award from Travel & Leisure magazine; “Best of the Best in Bermuda” by Harper’s Hideaway Report; and it was recently ranked fifth of the Top 10 Resort Spas worldwide in the Condé Nast Traveler’s “Reader’s Choice Poll.” “With the addition of the new facility, we’re now a total year-round resort as opposed to an in-season one,” said Winfield. “We needed to diminish the false impression that it gets cold here in the wintertime. Having the facility has helped.”

Publication date: 01/29/2001