South / Regional Reports

Replacing Dehumidification Equipment at YMCAs Goes Along Swimmingly

July 27, 2001
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YMCAs across the nation are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the organization's formation. One of its corporate operations, the YMCA of Greater Winston-Salem, NC, is marking 113 years of service.

Those two dates made it a good time for another wave of upgrades at facilities.The Greater Winston-Salem YMCA covers a six-county area with approximately 11 branches, including an outreach center and summer camp. The main facilities have been in operation for many years and required some structural improvements, specifically for the indoor pool environments. Winston-Salem president/ceo Brian Cormier said he had been dissatisfied with the dehumidification equipment used for several years because the units were in constant need of repair and never really seemed to adequately remove moisture from the pool enclosures. So with expansion plans going on, he saw an opportunity to upgrade existing facilities and try some modern technologies in new locations.

Joe Crowder of Carolina Equipment Distributors in Greensboro, NC, introduced Cormier to PoolPak, Inc., which manufactures dehumidification equipment designed to remove unwanted moisture from indoor pool environments and other commercial applications. "We were looking for a better mousetrap, so to speak," Cormier said. So he and three of his building superintendents visited a Pennsylvania locale for an examination of PoolPak dehumidification equipment at work. Pat Reynolds, president of PoolPak, took Cormier on a tour of his plant and then to a couple of nearby facilities — the York County YMCA and at Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster.

As a result, three dual-fan configurations have been installed at different Winston-Salem area locations with at least three more slated to go in later this year.The Y folks opted for the dual-fan series because it provided a complete environmental control system.

Crowder said the first YMCA in the Winston-Salem territory to receive the equipment was at the Davie County facility in Mocksville, NC. The existing system was approximately nine years old in 2000 and already "in desperate need of an upgrade," he said. Following that upgrade, Cormier said, "The air seems fresher and more comfortable in the pool area since the installation." The only difficulty experienced during the transition occurred during the installation process. The PoolPak's dual-fan configuration was larger than the previous unit, so it would not fit in the room that had housed the other system. "We had to mount it on the roof instead, which required some technical work to ensure the facility's roof could support the weight and would not collapse," Crowder said.

Rick Sylvester, president of Sylvester & Cockrum, Clemmons, NC, said his firm researched all the pros and cons of developing the proper support system for the large dual-fan unit. "We finally decided on and installed four steel columns in the room directly beneath where the unit was mounted on the roof." In addition to developing the reinforced roofing structure, Sylvester's contracting firm also reconfigured certain areas of ductwork as a result of the demolition process during removal of the previous equipment.

Because of past problems with the other dehumidification units, it was important to the Winston-Salem YMCA group to have precise climate control at their facilities, thus the attention paid to the Smart Economizer technology.

That compares the temperature and humidity between air coming off the evaporator coil and outside air conditions. In this way, Crowder said, the economizer selects the most economical method of distributing free energy to the PoolPak unit for disbursement throughout the rest of the system. He said one aspect of the set-up is what he called significant energy savings whenever the outside temperature is between 60º and 82ºF.

Accurate regulation of the humidity, air, and water temperature for the PoolPak unit is achieved through the Electronic Control Center (ECC) II microprocessor controller. This an integrated controller compatible with most building automation systems and is also offered with AutoGuard remote system monitoring by the factory. PoolPak units are built using copper coil construction. Components, such as the compressor and pool water condenser, are located out of the air stream. Cormier said the Greater Winston-Salem YMCA is in the process of conducting a feasibility study to determine whether the units might be appropriate for a proposed 50-meter aquatic center in the Winston, NC, area.

Publication date: 07/30/2001

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