An indoor pool – or the addition of an enclosure around an existing outdoor pool – is undoubtedly a worthwhile project in a retirement community. Swimming offers a variety of health benefits and creating a facility that offers these in a venue that is warm and accessible all year round would be a great service to residents.
Whether you have already considered such an upgrade to the facilities in your retirement community or not, we believe that the benefits of doing so make it something you should definitely have on your agenda. Before going forward on this path, however, it’s always best to have a map of the terrain, such as the pros, cons, costs, and considerations that you can take into account as you decide whether an indoor pool is right for you. We hope that this article will be useful in this regard.
Let’s first consider the advantages of an indoor pool. We have covered these in great detail in other articles, but they can really be summed up as follows:
- The main advantage, of course, is the ability to offer your residents year-round swimming. If you already run an outdoor pool, you will find that converting to an indoor one will cut down on your maintenance costs and efforts. There is simply less dirt and debris to deal with. You will reduce your use of chemicals. This is because the pool is not in direct sunlight. Chlorine’s effectiveness is diminished in direct sunlight and, obviously, this will not be a problem indoors.
- You will have increased protection against the elements. Added to the advantage of year-round use, there is continued protection against sun, rain, and wind. In the summer, people can spend an entire day at the poolside without any risk of sunburn. In winter, they can do the same, regardless of the exterior conditions.
- An indoor pool is also much more secure. As a facility that you can lock up, it offers less of a temptation to any potential intruders.
- Naturally, there will be more construction work necessary on an indoor pool than on an outdoor one. This will mean higher costs as well as the temporary hassle and discomfort that comes with a building project.
- There is some increase in energy costs relative to those of an outdoor pool.
- Although an outdoor pool requires energy to run the pump, an indoor one requires the same, as well as heating for both the water and the air – and you will have to run these for most, if not all, of the year.
- On balance, however, these seeming disadvantages are worth it. The construction costs are a once-off expense, and they are not followed by excessive maintenance costs. Once the facility is installed, it will run at a relatively low cost for years.
- The protection against the elements may be a disadvantage at certain times of the year because it means that bathers can’t spend any time soaking up the sun. However, this would not be the case when you have a retractable roof. With these roof systems, you can open it up to let in the sun during the summer and close it to keep out the cold at night and during the winter – all at the touch of a single button.
- Humidity is a problem with indoor pools. All pools lose moisture through evaporation. Outdoors, this moisture simply disperses into the air. Indoors, however, the water vapour is trapped inside and could cause corrosive damage over time. This can be dealt with using either a dehumidifier or a retractable roof or a combination of the two. What’s more, if you choose an OpenAire glass and aluminum enclosure, which is maintenance-free, any possible moisture damage to the structure is circumvented as a result of the materials and construction methods we use.
- ROI: Investing in an indoor pool will certainly increase the overall value of the retirement community, as well as offering an additional attraction for prospective residents. Not all communities can offer a luxury feature like an indoor pool – especially one with a retractable glass roof. It will look very good on your prospectus and will be very attractive to both residents and visitors. This will certainly make the costs worthwhile.
- Although an indoor pool can incur energy costs, these can be offset and managed, especially if you install a retractable roof. When you have an OpenAire retractable roof over your pool, you can open and close the panels at the touch of a button. During the day you can keep the lights off because you have sunlight to keep the area lit. When you open the roof, you can turn off your dehumidifier and save energy. The thermally broken aluminum frames resist the transfer of heat and energy, which means they keep in the solar heat, as well as that which is generated by your heating systems. Because of the better insulation, you won’t have to overwork your heating systems, leading to more savings. All of this equals as much as 30% energy savings annually.
- Thanks to the lower maintenance requirements, indoor pools have reduced operational costs relative to outdoor ones. Glass enclosures are pretty much maintenance-free. The aluminum frames resist rust and corrosion and our ‘baked-on’ painting technique means that the framework won’t need repainting. So, you will never have to factor enclosure repairs and maintenance into your budget. The enclosure not only reduces your operational costs, but it will also reduce the energy costs of running the pool itself. If your space is kept closed and you maintain a steady warm temperature, you will lose less energy and water through evaporation.
The above considerations point towards the benefits of glass enclosures over fixed, brick structures. Glass enclosures with retractable roofs are a more cost-effective option and offer additional advantages, such as the ability to open up the structure on warm, sunny days and close it up at night and in cold weather.
So, you’re probably wondering what the bottom line is? It’s difficult to predict how much the enclosure will cost without a full assessment of the size of your facility and what you already have in place. For instance, do you already have an outdoor pool that you’re looking to enclose? Or, are you going to build the entire facility from scratch? What is the size of your pool? How much of an area do you want to enclose around the pool? These all need to be factored in, and that is why it’s difficult to give any specific estimates. What we can do is give you a breakdown of what expenses to expect, without giving you any specific amounts.
Assuming that you already have an outdoor pool that you’re looking to enclose, your main cost will be the enclosure itself, including design and construction, as well as electrical installation for lighting and retractable roof operation. Once the structure is up, you will then need to install heating systems and a dehumidifier inside, as well as heating for the pool itself. These are your primary upfront costs.
The great thing about pool enclosures is that there are no hidden costs and no significant increases to your operational costs. In fact, through the reduction of maintenance costs, pool enclosures actually reduce your operational expenditure over time. This, together with the increased value proposition of your facility, which we have already touched on, makes the initial expenditure well worthwhile.
With more information about the specifics of your pool enclosure, OpenAire can provide you with a quotation, as well as offer advice about the other costs involved.
OpenAire specializes in the kind of glass enclosures – complete with retractable roof systems – that you would need to enclose your indoor pool. Our aquatic portfolio includes multifaceted projects that we have undertaken for municipal pools, water parks, private residences, and retirement communities across North America, all with differing requirements. Each one of them has reported seeing all the benefits we have outlined here. Many facilities with swimming pools have even taken it a few steps further and made use of our enclosures to expand their amenities. Among the retirement communities happily making use of OpenAire-built indoor swimming facilities are: Waterford Retirement Residence in Ottawa, ON; Heritage El Dorado Hills Fitness Center, El Dorado Hills, CA; Eskaton Village Center, Carmichael, CA; Eskaton Village Seniors Swim and Fitness, Roseville, CA; Stoneridge Creek, Pleasanton, CA; Rosemary Beach Clubhouse, Panama City, CA; and Rivington Clubhouse, Danbury, CT.