When hosting an event that revolves around your YMCA’s outdoor swimming pool, there is nothing worse or more frustrating than having to cancel plans due to bad weather. It is frustrating to your guests and results in possible loss of deposit and and associated ancillary spending. Having to shut down all pool activities throughout fall and winter also definitely is not doing your bottom line any favors. If only there was a way to remedy this problem and utilize your YMCA’s pool facilities throughout the year regardless of the weather?
The good news is that there is a solution to this. This solution comes in the form of a retractable roof that can be installed over the pool! Offering your members and indoor and an outdoor pool will almost certainly help to draw in new members to your YMCA and help to both maintain and increase the facility use of your already-existing members. Below, we take a look at a few reasons why these enclosures are such a worthwhile investment, and why it is time to consider installing them at your YMCA as soon as possible.
Retractable roofs are exactly that – a translucent, aluminum framed roof that can be easily retracted or opened when the weather is good, and closed up again when it is not. Ultimately, this means that your pool can be enjoyed rain or shine, hot or cold, all throughout the year. Retractable roofs are not only excellent for overcoming the challenges presented by the weather, but they can also help to keep the pools cleaner compared to a traditional outdoor pool, resulting in less of a need for regular maintenance. If closed overnight, even during the warmer months, these enclosures will prevent dust, dirt, and debris from landing in the water – much to the delight of your staff members and your visitors alike!
Here at OpenAire, we are all about going green and doing everything in our power to help our clients do the same. We are pleased to let you know that our retractable roofs are environmentally-friendly in many ways. For starters, all of our roofing structures are thermally broken and because they are operable, allow for natural ventilation. This reduces the need to operate expensive mechanical air handling systems 24 hours a day 365 days a year. When the roof is open, these systems can be turned off. The long-term result is a drastic decrease in energy usage (and dramatic energy cost savings for your YMCA).
Furthermore, the all-glazed nature of the enclosure means that lots of natural light is able to filter through, even when the roof has been closed. The result is that there is no need to switch on standard lights during the day (outside of code required emergency systems), thus reducing your organization’s carbon footprint even more, particularly during the summer months when daylight hours are abundant.
As the temperature starts to drop in the wintertime, the solar gain of the translucent roof and transparent walls can offset some of the internal heating requirements during the daytime, again aiding in cost savings for your facility operations.
Lastly, if you are really “going green”, OpenAire retractable roof enclosures can contribute to LEED certification, for both New Construction and Core and Shell rating systems. All in all, it is great news, not only from an environmental perspective, but also for your pocket.
As already mentioned, by installing a retractable roof over the pool(s) at your YMCA, you will get a lot more use out of them, and be able to keep them open to your members regardless of what the weather outside has in store. This fact alone is sure to draw in greater numbers of members throughout the year. But that is not all! With improved amenities, you can also start to provide increased and more diverse programming to keep both newcomers and long-term members engaged in the club. You could start aquatic aerobics classes, children’s swimming lessons, water polo – anything, really. With an aging population, a focus on programming for seniors could be a large benefit toward increased attendance. All of these new activities are sure to make your facilities remain competitive and give members a reason to want to get fit and attend your facility on a regular basis.
The possibility of utilizing the pool(s) at any time also means that there is a chance to capitalize on building new partnerships, memberships, and increasing admissions. As a result, the YMCA can increase its charitable activities for the local communities - thus meeting the desires of the donors.
An increase in membership undoubtedly means an improved bottom line – that goes without saying. If your YMCA is to continue growing from strength to strength, financial and environmental efficiency are essential in the long-term. Nationwide research shows that in the USA, “local parks and recreation spending decreased by 7.2% from 2003 to 2013.” (according to the NRPA, p. 55). While YMCAs are funded differently than Parks and Recreation facilities, with this statistic in mind, it becomes obvious that now is the time for YMCAs to do everything possible to reduce costs, increase revenue, and also ensure that local residents can access the facilities.
The more varied the amenities an aquatic center or YMCA offers, the more members it attracts, the longer they stay and the more ancillary services and products can be offered. Length of stay, programming, accessibility, sustainability, increased memberships, and improved partnerships are also critical to driving growth and ensuring the longevity and long-term success of the organization. The addition of a retractable roof over the pool means that there is nothing holding you back from diversifying your program offering, ultimately boosting the income and sustainability of the organization as a whole.
As you already know, the reality of the situation is that indoor pools cost a lot of money to operate. Luckily, by installing a retractable roof, you will see a decrease in operation and maintenance costs (compared to a traditionally constructed indoor pool) almost immediately. This is because the structures are constructed of naturally corrosion-proof painted aluminum. And, the systems OpenAire builds are virtually maintenance-free, no yearly painting or refinishing. This means that you will eliminate extensive facility closures which impacts your bottom line and programming schedule. While you will still need to spend time and money on keeping your pools clean and healthy, at least you will not have to worry about maintaining the enclosures around them.
But what happens when increased interest and attendance inevitably leads to a volume related increase in facility operating costs? The secret in terms of overcoming this new challenge lies in how energy-efficient the retractable roof enclosures are. An operable roof can deliver annual energy cost savings of up to 27% over traditional construction for an aquatic venue.
As mentioned above, these energy savings are achieved by reducing/eliminating the need for artificial lighting and air handling when the roof and walls are open. When you open the roof and walls of a retractable enclosure, your pool building becomes a natural “chimney”, whereby the hot chemical laden air is pushed up and out of the roof as air flows in from the side walls. The retractable roof is not a “totally open or closed” system, it can be opened as much as needed, so in colder seasons it’s not uncommon for an OpenAire retractable roof to be open just a few inches for a few minutes a day to simply refresh the space.
In the winter or when it is chilly outside, when the roof is closed you also benefit from some solar heat gain on sunny days, meaning you may need less heat than a traditional building. In short, regardless of the weather, you will win when it comes to cost-savings, all year-round.
One of the reasons why retractable roofs are so popular with YMCA directors is the fact that they allow the pool area to boast the best of both worlds when it comes to enjoying the benefits of an indoor and an outdoor facility – staying open year-round while providing natural light and fresh air. Ultimately, this means that the air quality of the area is also greatly improved. This is something that members will notice and appreciate greatly. A happy member is a member that will not only keep utilizing the facilities, but will also be keen to tell others all about it too.
Most people who take part in swimming activities in indoor pools will complain about the air quality – and it can be one of the leading causes of a lack of attendance. Many existing facilities will attempt to mitigate these issues by opening doors year round, but this is rarely is enough to move chloramines away from the water surface where they most affect swimmers. With a retractable roof, on the other hand, the roof and the doors can be opened when needed, this creates a natural updraft, which aids in moving the chemical-laden air away from swimmers and staff members who spend extended time in these spaces.
Not only is this good news for members’ health and wellbeing in general, but it is also sure to make their visit a lot more pleasant and memorable, keeping them coming back again and again.
An aluminum retractable roof is undoubtedly your best bet vs a standard construction wood, steel or concrete building. This is due to the fact that they can also help to keep energy costs low. They also help to save money because the aluminum will never have to be repainted and OpenAire uses only stainless steel hardware in aquatic environments.When they are manufactured with a baked-on paint finish, the risk of corrosion over time is eliminated, making them an endlessly durable long-term investment.
Aluminum retractable roofs are also known to be more lightweight and flexible for renovations and new builds. OpenAire can custom design the solution to meet the needs of a new structure or as an addition to your existing facility.
There are many options for your YMCA’s pool enclosure from steel structures, to concrete boxes to fabric tents that go up and down every year, to traditional wood structures and more. The supplier list is endless… But how many of those companies can say that they have completed almost 1,000 projects around the globe in all climates and geographies and for communities of all different sizes? How many of them can say that they have the equipment and know-how necessary to be able to participate in your project from design to manufacturing, to construction and/or installation and handover, including architectural and engineering services, operations support, financial/investment planning and business planning? OpenAire can also offer you the best warranty in the industry: a 5-year warranty on parts and labor.
Here at OpenAire, we are dedicated to collaborative design, providing our clients with a tailor-made final product that they can be proud of. We boast an in-house design and engineering team, as well as a certified fabrication and welding facility. We also pride ourselves on unparalleled customer support and project management, and we specialize in Revit, Solid Edge, and CAD.
Our engineer standards are as follows:
At the end of the day, you do not want to have any regrets when it comes to your YMCA pool(s) retractable roof. So call on the experts that you know you can count on to get the job done right. Call on the OpenAire team today!