We often get asked, “Can we turn our outdoor pool into an indoor pool…?

The answer is… yes but there are a few things you need to consider when making your plans.

Considerations When Turning An Outdoor Pool Into An Indoor Pool

The first thing is Lot Coverage. For every project, you need to ensure that are you “allowed” per local codes/by-laws to increase your built area lot coverage.

For example in some jurisdictions the building(s) may only cover 10% of your land. Or in other areas, you must be a certain distance from the lot lines. Your pool may be located to close to an “edge” of your lot. Or the pool enclosure may need to be smaller to ensure you dont go over your coverage allowance. Consider with an indoor pool you still want pool side seating in at least one area, so look at the pool and deck and furniture and think about how big the new enclosure really needs to be.

The other site related item to consider is access. If the pool is located in an area of the site that is hard to reach with construction equipment, then the building will be more costly to install. It will take longer and there may be some limitations to the style of building you investigate adding. Is the pool on the side of a cliff, can a truck access the pool area, what damage might be done to the lawn and surrounding gardens if trucks are in and out of there for a couple of months.

Assuming there are no significant site related issues, here are the other items to consider when planning your pool transformation.

When your pool was installed, it was not designed to be indoor. The mechanical systems for an indoor pool and an outdoor pool vary. So first things first, you need to understand that there WILL be upgrades required to the existing pool mechanical systems. A local pool builder (no matter if you project is commercial or residential) is the best person to provide costs for this renovation/upgrade.

In line with this upgrade, when foundations are installed for the new enclosure, the location of existing piping must be kept in mind. Digging ditches and cutting pipes is a hassle for both the owner and builder and an added cost, unless piping is being replaced anyway.

In addition to the aforementioned upgrades you will need to add a mechanical dehumidification system to maintain the air quality of the pool environment. This is required for all indoor pools in addition to a heating and/or cooling system.

Consider the age of the pool. The pool has been outside exposed to the elements for a period of time. Outside of upgrading the mechanics, a 30 year old pool in a sparkly new building will look like a 30 year old pool. So there “may” be some aesthetic upgrades required, paint, tile, decking and such to make your renovated pool the one you imagine it to be.

So… once you have determined that your lot can handle a building with a larger footprint, the pool is accessible and you are aware you need to upgrade the pool itself… then yes you can turn an outdoor pool into an indoor pool.

Now you need to think about the type of enclosure you want for your pool. Consider the following. ALL pools are corrosive, it doesn’t matter if it is “salt water” or not, public or private, a waterpark of a lap pool… “Salt water” solutions are the same in that the chloramines in the air will EAT the building from the inside out. The maintenance alone on a building that is rotting or corroding makes the long term reality of an indoor pool a costly venture. New roofs and walls are expensive. Consider a building material like aluminum which will never corrode.

In addition depending on your location and climate, you may also be subject to aggressive environmental conditions; for example if your location is near a beach, you are subject to salt water, if you are in the mountains you must consider snow loads, and if you are in a southern hurricane zone, winds are your primary issue. Your building solution must be able to accommodate the environment at your specific site.

Operating costs are the last big item to consider with a pool transformation. It is much more expensive to operate an indoor pool that is year round than an outdoor one. You’ve added a new series of mechanical equipment to your indoor pool, all of which runs continuously. Plus you have a building you need to heat, cool and illuminate.

If you want a cost efficient solution to your pool transformation that works in any geography and climate, look for an all aluminum structure that opens up and is allowed to naturally ventilate. Even in the harshest coldest climates, turning off the AC or heat for a few months results in dollars saved. The energy savings from turning off lights and HVAC can be 20-30% a year if a space is naturally ventilated with openings in walls and a retractable roof.

Check out the Huff Aquatic Center at the Scheu Family YMCA of Upland California. This was an outdoor pool, built with the intent to transform theiroutdoor pool into an indoor pool, but due to funding the project was phased. So phase one was the new recreation center for the YMCA, then the outdoor pool and lastly was the enclosure of the pool. The transformation is incredible and just in time for the past few years of pandemic. The indoor/outdoor space became a gym, classroom, pool and party place!

The options are endless - reach out to OpenAire for help with your venue transformation, whether its transforming an outdoor pool into an indoor pool or something unique to your needs, in a way that is cost effective and maintenance free.

*The Scheu Family YMCA transforms their outdoor pool into an indoor pool.

outdoor pool into an indoor pool

All of OpenAire's indoor waterparks around the USA are open. Only our indoor park in Canada remains closed as of  July 06, 2020

This is compared to about 66% of public and private indoor parks across the US who have re-opened so far. (per June 25, 2020 Hotel and Leisure Advisors Update)

From: Hotel and Leisure Advisors:

U.S. Waterparks Updates June 25, 2020

"The current COVID-19 crisis is having a significant negative effect on the waterpark industry. Many parks have delayed their season openings while others have decided, or been mandated, not to open in 2020 at all. With the largest database of waterparks and waterpark resorts across North America, H&LA is tracking the closings of waterparks across all segments. We began tracking the impact of COVID-19 on May 14th and will update this information a final time on July 9 as we track the most accurate data regarding the state of the industry in 2020. Our data is confirmed via online or property-level sources and is the latest data available as of the date of publication.

HotelLeisureAdvisors 06252020 02

Indoor Waterparks:
We have researched or called every standalone indoor waterpark and indoor waterpark resort in the United States to determine their open status as of June 25, 2020. Some indoor waterpark resorts remain open for lodging, but their waterparks are closed. For our analysis, we considered these properties as closed.

Since our May 14th update, the number of open indoor waterparks has increased significantly.  Nearly two-thirds of this segment is currently open.

HotelLeisureAdvisors 06252020 01
For questions about H&LA’s research or to inquire about hospitality consulting services, please contact Heidi Banak, 216-228-7000, extension 14; hbanak@hladvisors.com or David Sangree, MAI, CPA, ISHC, 216-810-5800; dsangree@hladvisors.com

STATE OF OPENING FOR OPENAIRE INDOOR WATERPARKS POST COVID-19

Americana Conference Resort and Spa
Niagara Falls CANADA
Open Awaiting Province regulations for date

https://www.americananiagara.com

Big Splash
French Lick, IN
Open June 14, 2020

https://www.bigsplashadventure.com

Epic Waters
Grand Prairie, TX
Open May 29, 2020

https://epicwatersgp.com

Pirates Cay Waterpark (Holiday Inn Club Vacations® Fox River Resort)
Sheridan, IL
Open June 15, 2020

http://www.holidayinnclub.com/explore- resorts/fox-river-resort

Kalahari Resorts Poconos Mountains
Pocono Manor, PA
Open June 12, 2020

https://www.kalahariresorts.com

Pump House Waterpark
Jay Peak, VT
Open July 01, 2020 Surfing only

https://jaypeakresort.com/

Raptor Reef Indoor Waterpark
Triple Play Resort Hotel & Suites, Hayden, ID

Open May 16, 2020

http://www.tripleplayresort.com

Water-Zoo Waterpark
Clinton, OK
Open May 22, 2020

https://www.water-zoo.com

Watiki Waterpark
Rapid City, SD
Open May 22, 2020

https://www.watikiwaterpark.com

Silverleaf Waterpark at the Villages
(Holiday Inn Club Vacations®)
Tyler, TX
Open June 11, 2020

http://www.holidayinnclub.com/explore- resorts/villages-resort

Zehnders Splash Village Waterpark and Resort
Frankenmuth, MI
Open July 01, 2020

https://www.zehnders.com

Any facility that is indoor and aquatic has to be built properly. The repercussions of poor construction can be structural building failure (there are several reported cases buildings collapsing), corrosion, and constant maintenance. Space needs to be safe and healthy for guests and staff.

Waterparks have additional concerns due to the extreme volume of splashing and moisture in the air, but regardless all indoor aquatic centers have to carefully consider the building envelope before they build, so the long term costs of continued maintenance don’t break the bank.

Traditionally aquatic centers are built in large-span steel structures with concrete or metal and more recently glass infills/walls. Times have changed. If you are planning to build an indoor pool or aquatic center of any kind. Here is what you need to know:

Primary Building Envelope Key Issues/Concerns:

  1. Indoor pools are moist, damp, warm environments, with poor air quality, large volumes of people, and if there are slides, splash pads, and spas; there is extensive splashing and spray.
  2. The air in a natatorium often contains nearly 3x the moisture per unit volume as a typical, non-humidified building. Waterparks are worse.
  3. Chlorine remains the primary disinfectant used to sanitize pools. Chloramines are gases that form as a disinfectant by-product of chlorination and hover above the water surface impacting guests and staff. Chloramines are toxic. They cause corrosion, irritate skin and eyes and are a known respiratory health hazard to swimmers, lifeguards and other pool occupants.1
  4. Indoor pools are guided by the guidelines set out by ASHRAE 62.1. CDC Report says typical ASHRAE 6.1 standards are not enough in a large voluminous space where water is splashed and spread differently than in a more typical pool.2
  5. Natatorium investigation reports almost always cite “improper design/construction of the vapor retarder” as a primary cause of moisture problems3
  6. Exterior environmental/climate-related corrosion is also a factor, specifically in coastal locations.
  7. Several structural failures over pools have led to the sudden collapse of ceilings, along with deaths and injuries. The cause was chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking (SCC).4

So what should you do to prevent some of these issues?
Build with Aluminum.

Aluminum Building:

Retractable Aluminum Building Per OpenAire:

Polycarbonate Roof, Glass Walls, Aluminum Structure

1. Material

2. Corrosion/Rust

3. Painted finish

4. Hardware

5. Retractable Roof

6. Motorized Pivot Windows

7. Glazed Building envelope

8. Maintenance

9. Building Operating Costs

10. Warranty

11. Installation by OpenAire

12. Industry Expertise

Steel Building:

Fixed Steel Building per Pre-Engineered Structure:

Steel Roof, Steel Walls, Steel Structure

1. Material

2. Corrosion/Rust

3. Painted Finish

4. Hardware

5. Fixed Roof

6. Windows (Type TBD)

7. Opaque Building Envelope

8. Maintenance

9. Building Operating Costs

10.Warranty

11.Installation by third party

12. Industry Expertise

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building aquatic centers around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor natatoriums. Our aluminum retractable roof enclosures cover commercial pools from spas to retirement communities, to municipal parks and recreation facilities, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, to hotels, cruise ships and private Health Clubs. We also have an extensive portfolio of waterparks.

No matter what the sector is, the issues around corrosion for indoor pools are the same.

For expanded portfolios of projects in all sectors, please reach out and contact us to see how we can support your future aquatic center dreams, or assist in modifying your existing facility to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.

Footnotes:
1. Ventilation Requirements For Indoor Pools, Gary Lochner , ASHRAE Journal ashrae.org JULY 2017, www.ashrae.org

2. CDC Workplace Safety and Health; Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Lilia Chen MS, Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 2007-0163-3062, Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio, June 2008

3. Avoiding Problems in Aquatics Facilities: Atypical design for atypical buildings, Construction Specifier December 25, 2013, Jason S. Der Ananian, PE, and Sean M. O’Brien, PE, LEED AP, https://www.constructionspecifier.com/avoiding-problems-in-aquatics-facilities-atypical-design-for-atypical- buildings/

4. A Corrosive Environment; Aquatics International Magazine, September 01,2011, Dave Schwartz, P.E, https://www.aquaticsintl.com/facilities/maintenance/a-corrosive-environment_o

5. https://www.wenzelmetalspinning.com/steel-vs-aluminum.html

6. Daylighting, Gregg D. Ander, FAIA, Southern California Edison, Updated by U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Updated: 09-15-2016, https://www.wbdg.org/resources/daylighting

7. The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and
human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg. https://architecturallighting.com; March 19, 2014.

8. https://www.aluminum.org/aluminum-advantage/aluminum-101

9. https://www.wenzelmetalspinning.com/steel-vs-aluminum.html

10. Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Hiroshi Nishiura, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID-19 Response Team, Motoi Suzuki, medRxiv 2020.02.28.20029272; doi: https://doi.org/ 10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272

Can you have a pool building that won't corrode? Yes you can.

Few buildings present the risks and challenges found in indoor swimming pool enclosures or natatoriums. With far higher interior moisture loads than typical buildings and a potentially corrosive interior environment, natatoriums put structural and enclosure systems to the test, especially in cold or even mixed climates.1 In addition, geography has an impact. Coastal location structures are also at risk from sea/salt air, while inland locations may suffer from pollution and other environmental factors.

Indoor pools, in all locations, suffer from the effects of chloramines, the off-gases in the air, which have become worse as pools have become bigger/warmer and as attractions; such as slides, surfing, splash pads, have become common features. Chloramines are toxic. They cause corrosion, irritate skin and eyes and are a known respiratory health hazard to swimmers, lifeguards and other pool occupants.2 If you notice a chlorine-type smell, the air is probably contaminated with chloramines.3

OpenAire Blog AquaticSeries1As a result, operators and owners are continually on the lookout for building envelope failures that can appear quickly and severely and are caused by improper design and construction. Building envelope failures can include roof membranes, vapor and air barriers, foundations and cracks in cladding, all of which can lead to energy loss and potential structural member degradation.Natatorium investigation reports almost always cite “improper design/construction of the vapor retarder” as a primary cause of moisture problems.4

Building envelope issues are inherent in mixed-use athletic complexes where the pool is attached to a larger facility and designers didn’t fully appreciate the complex distinction/ineraction between the specialized systems required for the pool area and/or failed to prevent moisture migration between the pool and the adjacent spaces.5

This is because the air in a natatorium often contains nearly three times the moisture per unit volume as a typical, non-humidified building. It is important to realize the building code is intended for non-humidified/‘general-use’ buildings and does not specifically cover special buildings such as natatoriums and museums—both of which require atypical interior conditions.6

Perhaps the biggest risk to indoor pools is the corrosion danger to the structural
steel used in building envelopes over the pool area. Several structural failures over pools have led to the sudden collapse of ceilings, along with deaths and injuries. The cause was chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking (SCC).7

OpenAire Blog AquaticSeries IndoorPool

An uncoated (or insufficiently coated) steel bar joist roof structure will corrode quickly, creating a maintenance nightmare. Accessible surfaces using stainless steel can be maintained and refinished easily, and with a proper water treatment program, corrosion can be reduced. However, the impact on any part of the building envelope beyond the physical reach of regular maintenance programs remains a major concern.

How do you clean/maintain a roof that’s 30-40 ft over the pool on a regular basis? The answer is... you don’t.

OpenAire Blog AquaticSeries EnclosedPoolThe alternative solution.

The answer is to ventilate the chemical and filter room air to the outside.8

New studies demonstrate the correlation between the transmission of COVID-19 in closed environments vs. open air circulation. In a recent Japan study, the odds of a primary case transmitting COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7x greater compared to an open-air environment.9

Plus there are a couple of other ideas that have been found to alleviate the impact of corrosion.

OpenAire Blog AquaticSeries SwimmingPool

The first, as noted, is the introduction of naturally ventilated air. A large volume of air through the pool space will help to eliminate the chloramines the cause the air to be less acidic and corrosive. It has the added benefit of reducing smell and creating a more desirable space for guests. ASHRAE says to design a natatorium system so that up to 30 percent of the recirculation rate can be brought in as fresh air. We recommend greater fresh air capacity, 50 to 100 percent where feasible.10

The second idea is: whenever possible use building materials, such as aluminum, that will endure in this environment.11

Aluminum is lightweight, high-strength, corrosion-resistant and widely recycled. It maximizes building efficiency by balancing the functions of heating, cooling, lighting, shading and ventilation. In addition, aluminum in buildings has been proven to last for multiple decades with minimal maintenance, lowering the lifecycle footprint of a building.12 Building a pool enclosure that doesn’t corrode seems like a no brainer. Add to that low-cost natural ventilation and reduced maintenance costs, its an obvious choice.

Lastly: Aluminum is superior to steel and iron in its ability to reflect the infrared (heat) rays of the sun. Properly coated aluminum roofs can reflect up to 95 percent of the solar energy that strikes them, dramatically improving energy efficiency.13 This makes aluminum a key component in LEED- certified green buildings should you be looking for that designation.14

Natatoriums of the Future

Facilities built with non-corrosive materials like aluminum have a significant advantage both from a strength and durability perspective, and a cleanliness one.

OpenAire Blog AquaticSeries PoolA bright, open space that isn’t corroded makes these aquatic centers not only more attractive to guests, but in fact they are easier to clean. Also per the experts, using natural ventilation saves money and allows operators to provide all occupants with a safer and healthier environment which may reduce the risk of virus transmission. During this time of a global pandemic, these are the issues that matter more than ever.

This is a win-win for owners and operators.

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building aquatic centres around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor natatoriums. Our retractable roof aluminum enclosures cover commercial pools from spas to retirement communities, to municipal parks and recreation facilities, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, to hotels, cruise ships and private Health Clubs. We also have an extensive portfolio of waterparks.

No matter what the sector is, the issues around corrosion for indoor pools are the same.

A small sample of our aquatic centers include:

For expanded portfolios of projects in all sectors, please reach out and contact us to see how we can support your future aquatic center dreams, or assist in modifying your existing facility to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color="black"][vc_column_text el_id="footnotes"]

Footnotes:

1 Avoiding Problems in Aquatics Facilities: Atypical design for atypical buildings, Construction Specifier December 25, 2013, Jason S. Der Ananian, PE, and Sean M. O’Brien, PE, LEED AP, https:// www.constructionspecifier.com/avoiding-problems-in-aquatics-facilities-atypical-design-for-atypical-buildings/

2 Ventilation Requirements For Indoor Pools, Gary Lochner , ASHRAE Journal ashrae.org JULY 2017, www.ashrae.org.

3 Energy efficiency in indoor aquatic facilities, INV-DG-01, November 2016, Gary Lochner, Unison Comfort Technologies, innoventair.com

4 Avoiding Problems in Aquatics Facilities: Atypical design for atypical buildings, Construction Specifier December 25, 2013, Jason S. Der Ananian, PE, and Sean M. O’Brien, PE, LEED AP, https://www.constructionspecifier.com/avoiding-problems-in-aquatics-facilities-atypical-design-for-atypical-buildings/

5 ibid.

6 ibid.

7 A Corrosive Environment; Aquatics International Magazine, September 01,2011, Dave Schwartz, P.E, https://www.aquaticsintl.com/facilities/maintenance/a-corrosive-environment_o

8 ibid.

9 Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Hiroshi Nishiura, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID-19 Response Team, Motoi Suzuki, medRxiv 2020.02.28.20029272; doi: https://doi.org/ 10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272,

10 A Corrosive Environment; Aquatics International Magazine, September 01,2011, Dave Schwartz, P.E, https://www.aquaticsintl.com/facilities/maintenance/a-corrosive-environment_o

11 Energy efficiency in indoor aquatic facilities, INV-DG-01, November 2016, Gary Lochner, Unison Comfort Technologies, innoventair.com

12 https://www.aluminum.org/aluminum-advantage/aluminum-101

13 https://www.aluminum.org/product-markets/building-construction

14 ibid.

Part 4: Designing with Light to Earn more Revenue

There is undeniable evidence that daylit spaces hold the potential to yield substantial benefits, including increased energy savings, increased revenue in retail applications, and improvements to human health and productivity.1

While the science isn’t precise, it is clear that daylight affects our mood, our behavior and our productivity. It is therefore mandated by global buildings codes:

Daylighting is the controlled admission of natural light, direct sunlight, and diffused- skylight into a building to reduce electric lighting and saving energy. By providing a direct link to the dynamic and perpetually evolving patterns of outdoor illumination, daylighting helps create a visually stimulating and productive environment for building occupants, while reducing as much as one- third of total building energy costs.2

OpenAire Blog Waterpark4

Adding Sky to Your Design Isn’t Just Beautiful, It’s Highly Beneficial.

How does this translate to benefits in a waterpark?

1. Daylight serves as a benefit for your staff, encouraging productivity and boosting happiness while they are at work.

2. Waterpark guests, in brightly lit spaces where the provision of light/ luminance on interior surfaces is present, are likely to be happier. Therefore, their behavior will shift to staying longer, spending more and returning more frequently.

There are a variety of studies showing that daylight is the third most important factor in improving retail sales, behind hours of operation and years since last renovation.3

In other words, a day lit space with good hours and a clean, new environment will make more money.

Utilizing natural light can also lead to substantial energy savings. A waterpark could eliminate or significantly reduce the need for artificial lighting during daytime hours.

Lighting loads can be reduced by incorporating natural lighting into the envelope design and by using efficient lighting options.4

This is a win-win for owners and operators.

OpenAire Blog WaterparkS4OpenAire has had the pleasure of building waterparks around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor parks. Our mutual goal is always to help them lead the way in creating enjoyable, practical and beautiful spaces, making custom solutions to suit their exact spaces and needs. From the northern border to the deep south, OpenAire supports clients in creating water parks for all seasons that are bound to “wow.”

A top five park in Texas; Epic Waters, the largest indoor Waterpark in the USA

Contact us to see how we can support your future waterpark vision, or assist in modifying your existing park to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.

Footnotes:

1 The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg. architecturallighting.com; March 19, 2014

2 Daylighting, Gregg D. Ander, FAIA, Southern California Edison, Updated by U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Updated: 09-15-2016, https://www.wbdg.org/resources/daylighting

3 The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg. architecturallighting.com; March 19, 2014.

4 Energy efficiency in indoor aquatic facilities. Thoughtful choices yield significant energy savings, by Gary Lochner, Unison Comfort Technologies, innoventair.com

The Air We Breath

Part 3: Fresh Air... the new standard for ventilation.

Every interior space requires some form of ventilation. Natural, mechanical or a hybrid, but this is especially true with the chemical-laden air of a waterpark. Indoor pools are guided by the guidelines set out by ASHRAE 62.1, but per the CDC report titled the “Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark"1, these standards are not enough in a large voluminous space where water is splashed and spread differently than in a more typical pool.

Why Ventilation Is Priority

Ventilation is required to achieve and maintain good air quality, as well as thermal comfort levels but as the study shows, also the health and safety of staff and guests.

OpenAire Blog Covid Waterparks Part3

Natural ventilation was the main driver of architectural design before it was replaced with mechanical systems in the 20th century. Traditional buildings had a variety of shapes and layouts to promote ventilation by cross-breeze, stacking, wind towers, atriums, chimneys and more. However, studies of “old” buildings with high ceilings and large windows for natural ventilation, shows that they have greater ventilation than modern rooms of the same type.2

There is little evidence that ventilation directly reduces the risk of disease transmission, but many studies suggest that insufficient ventilation increases disease transmission.3

After the SARS outbreak in 2003, the WHO (World Health Organization) extensively studied the design and role of ventilation in healthcare facilities to help reduce transmission of airborne infections and found:

Increasing ventilation rate is believed to reduce the cross-infection of airborne transmitted diseases by removing or diluting pathogen-laden airborne droplet nuclei. A higher ventilation rate can dilute the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection. Natural ventilation is able to deliver large ventilation rates with a low energy consumption. Compared with mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation can provide much higher ventilation rates.4

OpenAire Blog Covid WaterparksP3This is of course subject to the layout of a facility to maximize airflow patterns, identify the main driving forces (of wind) and sizing and locating openings. The WHO study set the standards for natural ventilation and promoted the use of low-cost natural ventilation, followed by the air of mechanical ventilation to move air when natural forces do not supply necessary conditions.5

The benefits of a naturally ventilated space are clear, for healthcare-related facilities (the study focus). These benefits can now be applied to all other commercial spaces, and, in this time of a new pandemic, the study conducted by the Guangzhou Yuexiu District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, set to be published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July concludes:

We conclude that in this outbreak, droplet transmission was prompted by air-conditioned ventilation...” "The key factor for infection was the direction of the airflow. To prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants, we recommend increasing the distance between tables and improving ventilation.”6

But, psychologically, will that be enough?

Will people return to crowded mechanically ventilated spaces when the risk is so great?

Given that waterparks are primarily family- oriented destinations, parents may hesitate to enter a space with their children or grandparents that aren’t naturally and visibly ventilated. Even if they are able to socially distance in this environment, a family may worry if they can potentially contract a virus in the space, and reconsider if the space presents concerns or risk.

Open up your space.

So, how can we improve ventilation in a space that is already built? Simply put, we can cut open a hole in the roof and the walls, and introduce natural ventilation. It's not always simple, but at this time when all options are on the table, there are solutions to be found.

The CDC has continued to recommend the following protocols for indoor pools:

Bring fresh air from the outside into the swimming area. If the fresh air is cold, this will increase heating costs, but compared with the cost of patron discomfort and illness linked to chloramines its a welcome trade-off.7

No matter how you look at it, you need fresh air in your space, lots of it, as poor air quality can lead to staff and guest symptoms of illness, which now include the symptoms of COVID-19.

Using fresh air for ventilation has an added benefit:

Using outdoor air as a dehumidifying source when it is cost-effective, rather than using a mechanical dehumidification system, can greatly reduce total operating costs, provide better indoor air quality, and improve system reliability.8

OpenAire Blog Covid19 WaterparksBut the ventilation efficiency decreases as ceiling height increases and the distance of the supply points from the deck increases9. So having an entire roof that opens up, might be the ideal solution to increase airflow.

There is a need to develop effective and appropriate engineering technologies and innovative architectural features to maximize the use of natural ventilation for different climatic conditions worldwide.10
In summary, per the global health experts, adding fresh air saves owners money and seems to allow operators to provide guests with a safer and healthier environment which may reduce the risk of virus transmission.

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building waterparks around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor parks. Our mutual goal is always to help them lead the way in creating enjoyable, practical and beautiful spaces, making custom solutions to suit their exact spaces and needs. From the northern border to the deep south, OpenAire supports clients in creating water parks for all seasons that are bound to “wow.” This includes:

Contact us to see how we can support your future waterpark vision, or assist in modifying your existing park to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color="black"][vc_column_text el_id="footnotes"]

Footnotes:

1 CDC Workplace Safety and Health; Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Lilia Chen MS, Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 2007-0163-3062, Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio, June 2008

2 WHO; Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, Edited by: James Atkinson, Yves Chartier, Carmen Lúcia Pessoa-Silva, Paul Jensen, Yuguo Li and Wing-Hong Seto, ISBN 978 92 4 154785 7 (NLM classification:WX 167), © World Health Organization 2009

3 ibid

4 Ventilation control for airborne transmission of human exhaled bio-aerosols in buildings, Hua Qian, Xiaohong Zheng, School of Energy and Environment, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China, http://dx.doi.org/ 10.21037/jtd.2018.01.24

5 WHO; Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, Edited by: James Atkinson, Yves Chartier, Carmen Lúcia Pessoa-Silva, Paul Jensen, Yuguo Li and Wing-Hong Seto, ISBN 978 92 4 154785 7 (NLM classification:WX 167), © World Health Organization 2009

6 Study: Restaurant Outbreak In China Suggests Limits To Airborne Transmission of COVID-19, 22 APRIL 2020, SF NEWS, Jay Barmann, https://sfist.com/2020/04/22/study-restaurant-covid-19-outbreak-in-china/

7 https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/aquatics-professionals/chloramines.html

8 Energy efficiency in indoor aquatic facilities. Thoughtful choices yield significant energy savings, by Gary Lochner, Unison Comfort Technologies, innoventair.com

9 ibid

10 WHO; Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, Edited by: James Atkinson, Yves Chartier, Carmen Lúcia Pessoa-Silva, Paul Jensen, Yuguo Li and Wing-Hong Seto, ISBN 978 92 4 154785 7 (NLM classification:WX 167), © World Health Organization 2009

Safer, Cleaner Waterparks are the New Norm

Part 2: Cleanliness & Materials

Health care professionals and government officials have clearly stated that increasing the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning is compulsory in order to prevent the spread of virus through contact. Global public health re-opening strategies include cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and PPE (personal protective equipment) as the basic minimum when opening.

 The New Normal.OpenAire Blog Covid Waterparks

The CDC, in their article titled “Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes” states:

Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure. In addition, disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces
and objects touched by multiple people is important.1

Clearly, parks will require new protocols and necessary PPE, with frequent disinfection playing a mandatory role in all staff duty expectations. This includes furniture, railings, tubes, lockers, counters, furniture, ATMs, etc. that staff and guests touch and comes into contact with regularly.

There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs or spas, or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (for example, with chlorine or bromine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19.2

In addition, scheduling for more significant maintenance cleaning and repairs will likely require more time than previously needed. However, some things will prove to be challenging to clean. Highly themed parks may need to implement no contact zones for theme displays that cannot be properly disinfected. Parks with easier-to-clean surfaces, columns, walls, etc, that are metal or glass will be a breeze to clean, and will likely increase their clients’ perception of whether the park is clean.

OpenAire Blog Covid And Waterparks

Those in the industry know that older indoor waterparks continuously perform maintenance around the park as the facility slowly deteriorates. The attractions and pools of course, require work, as do the attractions, pumps, and all the other behind- the-scenes equipment. Truthfully, many old parks have opted not to regularly “upgrade” interiors (until they are required to) due to the cost, design, theme, and so forth. This may no longer be acceptable, both by health code and guests.

Guests don’t want to risk getting sick, and a waterpark definitely doesn’t want to have to re-close should an outbreak occur. The detrimental impact to their reputation could prove insurmountable.

Evaluate How to Adapt.

Take a look at your waterpark’s walls, the attractions, the theming, and more. Can they be cleaned? How long do they stay clean? Materials historically used to build waterparks are subject to intense chloramines which attack and corrode the buildings, slide towers, railings, and pools. Literally every surface is under assault, whether they are wood, steel, or some combination of traditional building materials.OpenAire Blog Covid Waterparks series

The CDC states; Another way to reduce the risk of exposure is to make long-term changes to practices and procedures. These could include reducing the use of porous materials used for seating, leaving some doors open to reduce touching by multiple people, opening windows to improve ventilation, or removing objects in your common areas.3

Parks built with non-corrosive materials like aluminum have a significant advantage both from a strength and durability perspective, plus from a cleanliness one. A bright, open space that also opens and ventilates naturally, simply doesn’t corrode. That makes these parks not only seem cleaner, but they will also be cleaner if proper procedures are implemented.

Avoiding the use of porous and corrosive materials will help maintain the cleanliness and health of your facility making your building components last as long as possible.

Aluminum is lightweight, high-strength, corrosion-resistant and widely recycled. It maximizes building efficiency by balancing the functions of heating, cooling, lighting, shading and ventilation. In addition, aluminum in buildings has been proven to last for multiple decades with minimal maintenance, lowering the lifecycle footprint of a building.4

Perhaps this time of global crisis means that the design of these spaces will inherently change. Perhaps bright and light will be the new norm? Only time will tell, but global theme designers will surely provide innovation in this area.

The concepts of what constitutes a good indoor water parks are now different, and they won’t default back to what was once acceptable. This pandemic highlights that parks who have already seen these trends are in fact, ahead of the curve.

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building waterparks around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor parks. Our mutual goal is always to help them lead the way in creating enjoyable, practical and beautiful spaces, making custom solutions to suit their exact spaces and needs. From the northern border to the deep south, OpenAire supports clients in creating water parks for all seasons that are bound to “wow.” This includes:

Contact us to see how we can support your future waterpark vision, or assist in modifying your existing park to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.

Footnotes:

1 Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes, May 7, 2020, Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

2 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

3 Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes, May 7, 2020, Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html

4 https://www.aluminum.org/news/aluminum-association-statement-new-federal-building- efficiency-standards 

Who is Ahead of the Curve in this Time of Pandemic?OpenAire BlogIndoor Waterparks COVID 19 Series Part

Part 1: What do we do?

During a global pandemic, operators and owners of indoor waterparks are wondering where do we go from here? You may be asking yourself questions like:

“When do we open up this summer?”

“What changes do we need to make to open in the future?”

“How are we going to make the new normal financially viable?”

Teams are now actively discussing how to address these very issues, and where a pivot will be necessary.

Some outdoor waterparks have opted to remain closed for the summer of 2020, due to the inherent cost in ramping up for the season with training/staffing. Others will only operate at minimal capacity for the foreseeable season. For parks with a short season, it may simply not be “worth it” this year to open; a sad but fiscally conservative decision where needed.

However, indoor water parks employ their staff year-round. Staff count may expand and contract due to demand, but with the versatility to adapt their facilities regardless of season, indoor parks are riding on a decision of WHEN and HOW to reopen, and not IF.

Locally mandated social distancing guidelines and capacity guidelines will be a key part of every waterpark’s reopening plan. Like most businesses, owners and operators know that their viability to keep going is reliant on sales, so at some point, the doors must re-open.

OpenAire Blog Indoor Waterparks COVID 19

Is your waterpark ready? Or are there vital upgrades needed?

As we all now know - times have changed, likely forever. Will a park that was “totally fine” last year be a park that accommodates the future, accounting for health and hygiene standards brought to the surface by COVID-19? From here on out, new standards aren’t temporary, they’re rewriting the future of health & building codes.

What are the items to consider as part of emerging waterpark renovation for existing parks, and future waterpark design/operation? What are the top priorities and considerations? Most importantly, what actions need to be made in order to put these waterparks ahead of the curve as they facilitate a reopening?

Here are a few of the top things that come to mind:

1. Cleanliness & Materials: Global public health strategies now include frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects that are touched by multiple people is important to reduce the spread of infection. Easily cleanable materials are recommended.1

2. Ventilation: Typical indoor pool ventilation standards are still not enough for waterparks to reduce chloramine related illness due to the density of guests and splashing water2. During this pandemic, perhaps more than ever, natural ventilation and the use of fresh air are recommended to reduce the spread of airborne viruses.3

3. Daylight: There is undeniable evidence that day-lit spaces hold the potential to yield substantial benefits, including increased energy savings, increased revenue in retail applications, and improvements to human health and productivity.4

Where do we go from here?

Parks built with non-corrosive materials like aluminum have a significant advantage both from a strength and durability perspective, plus from a cleanliness one. A bright, open space that ventilates naturally, and one that isn’t corroded makes these parks not only seem cleaner, but they will also be cleaner if proper procedures are implemented.

And, per the experts, using natural ventilation saves owners money and allows operators to provide guests and staff with a safer and healthier environment which may reduce the risk of virus transmission.

This is a win-win for owners and operators.

Waterparks of the Future.OpenAire Blog IndoorWaterparks COVID 19

The concepts of what constitutes good indoor water parks are now different, and they won’t default back to what was once acceptable. This pandemic highlights that parks who have already seen these trends are in fact, ahead of the curve.

Parks that opt for these choices use less energy and are cheaper to operate and maintain every year.

And now, it turns out these parks may in fact be safer for guests!

New studies demonstrate the correlation between the transmission of COVID-19 in closed environments vs. open air circulation. In a recent Japan study, the odds of a primary case transmitting COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7x greater compared to an open-air environment.5

Parks that shifted to modern principles early on have long been reaping the benefits of daylight, fresh air, and a clean structure, while sharing these benefits with their staff and guests. These parks are not only ahead of the curve, but they’ll have the privilege of opening with more ease amidst “new normal” demands from this global pandemic.

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building waterparks around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor parks. Our mutual goal is always to help them lead the way in creating enjoyable, practical and beautiful spaces, making custom solutions to suit their exact spaces and needs. From the northern border to the deep south, OpenAire supports clients in creating water parks for all seasons that are bound to “wow.” This includes:

Contact us to see how we can support your future waterpark vision, or assist in modifying your existing park to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.
1 CDC Workplace Safety and Health; Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Lilia Chen MS, Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 2007-0163-3062, Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio, June 2008.

2 ibid.

3 Study: Restaurant Outbreak In China Suggests Limits To Airborne Transmission of COVID-19, 22 APRIL 2020, SF NEWS, Jay Barmann, https://sfist.com/2020/04/22/study-restaurant-covid-19-outbreak-in-china/

4 The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg. architecturallighting.com; March 19, 2014

5 Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Hiroshi Nishiura, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID-19 Response Team, Motoi Suzuki, medRxiv 2020.02.28.20029272; doi: https://doi.org/ 10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272

Aquatic centers offer good, healthy fun for people of all ages. Those with retractable roofs are able to do so all year round. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down these facilities for the moment, but once life starts to resume a semblance of normality, aquatic centers will continue to offer great amenities for health and entertainment, no doubt with boosted safety and sanitation measures that will make them all the more appealing. If you’re looking for an entertainment option that will keep the kids occupied for hours while also promoting a healthy, active lifestyle in a safe and secure environment, then an aquatic center is exactly what you need.   

Swimming After School or on Weekends – Throughout the Year

Retractable Roof over Boys And Girls Club in Boston MA

Retractable Roof over Boys And Girls Club in Boston MA

A great example is the Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester, MA. This was an update on the existing Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Club and was intended to provide after-school facilities for at-risk youth. OpenAire built a free-standing, thermally-broken aluminum-and-glass enclosure over the pool, complete with sliding doors and a retractable roof, which, depending on the weather conditions, can open or close the pool to the outside air at the touch of a button.

To the south, in northeastern Arkansas, the town of Pocahontas boasts a public aquatic center aimed at promoting health, fitness, recreation, and sports for people of all ages. Housed in an OpenAire double-slope enclosure, the center’s two pools and other facilities have become a popular attraction for the county’s youngsters. Open to the fresh air on sunny days and protected from the elements when the weather turns bad, the Pocahontas Aquatic Center provides entertainment for local children, both after school and on weekends – throughout the year. 

These are just two examples of aquatic centers that are enjoying the benefits of OpenAire enclosures, and also passing these benefits on to their communities. Enclosed pools enable facility managers to exercise greater control over the environment and increase the efficacy of sanitation measures, which, in addition to limiting the number of people who can access the pool at a given time and the adoption of careful social distancing measures, will ensure that these aquatic centers can still be healthy options for your children after the COVID-19 pandemic gets under control. 

OpenAire specializes in the design and construction of enclosures used in aquatic centers and other facilities. Besides the two centers above, others include the Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center in Morrisville, NC, the Little Elm Aquatic Center in Little Elm, TX, and The Plunge at FIT, Belmont Park, San Diego, CA. There are many others and your facility could become one of them. Contact us for more information.

aquatic centre

Does your club boast an inviting, crystal-clear pool? Yet, somehow that is not enough to attract people all-year-around? Well, we have a solution! Unlike any of your competitors, your club can offer a bright, open aquatic facility with an outdoor atmosphere in every season. And, it is easy to achieve! Simply invest in a retractable roof, and your aquatics facility will draw people like bees to honey.

In summer, many members of the public actively seek out spots with sparkling pools. During winter though, people tend to huddle in warm, cozy spots that offer a refuge against the cold outside. This is a time when people are forced to spend the majority of their time indoors, protected against the elements. No wonder then that this is when people yearn, more than ever, to connect with nature. Imagine if your aquatics facility could offer open skies - from a protected climate controlled enclosure. It would mean that guests enjoy the best of both worlds, summer and winter at your facility – something that would be impossible without a retractable roof!

A key aspect not to be underestimated is the stylish look of retractable roofs. By installing a retractable roof, you can create a space which flows seamlessly between indoors and outdoors, offering a modern, sleek, and practical facility. A retractable roof will give your aquatic facility the edge that enhances its look and usability.

Investing in a retractable roof will make your aquatics facility stand out, not only by offering the natural outdoors while enjoying an indoor swimming experience but also with its edgy contemporary design that offers the best of indoor-outdoor living. Don’t delay, set up a consultation with OpenAire's team today!

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