Western Kentucky University

WKU Office of Sustainability - Preston Center

Preston Pool Goes Solar

As part of WKU’s ESPC, a solar thermal array has been installed on the Preston Health and Solar Array Installation on Roof of the Preston CenterActivities Center roof that will use the sun’s radiant energy to heat the swimming pool. Eighty-eight solar thermal collectors have been installed. Each collector contains 3.7 gallons of fluid that will transfer heat from the sun to the pool water in a heat exchanger, keeping the pool a consistent 80-83 degrees Fahrenheit.

The collectors are expected to perform 10 months per year, as measured by Solar British Thermal Unit (BTU) output. BTU output calculations are estimates based on low wind conditions and historical averages of daytime air temperatures and solar insulation levels for our region.

WKU is guaranteed to save at least $10,963 annually by reducing the amount of natural gas required for heating as a result of this installation. With an initial project investment of $96,410, these annual savings result in a project payback of 8.8 years.

The collectors are manufactured by Heliocol and are distributed and installed by  SunQuest Energy, LLC. The same collectors were used to heat the swimming pool facilities for the Summer Olympic Games in 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens.

Link to the WKU News Article

Solar heating for the pool isn’t the only way the Raymond B. Preston Activities Center is going green. Other sustainability features of the Center include:

• Bicycle racks just outside the main entrance

• Green Seal Certified cleaning chemicals and hand soap

• Energy efficient lighting fixtures throughout the building

• Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Exit Signs

• Low-flow faucets and showerheads in the locker rooms

• Occupancy sensored lighting controls throughout the building

• Recycling containers for paper, plastic, and cardboard

• Sensored toilet flushing in the locker rooms

• Weather-stripping on exterior doors

 Last Modified 7/19/13