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Using HVAC to Convert A Decades Old Building Into An Aquatic Rec Center

A conventional indoor city recreation center was looking for an upgrade. The 25-year-old building planned on installing a wave pool, children’s pool, water slide and spa, which provided a challenge for the local HVAC engineers.

That is why the building hired Goodkey Weedmark & Associates Ltd. and it’s design team of Steven Hamilton, P. E., associate partner; and Andre Bogdanowicz, P.E., principal; and mechanical contractor T.P. Crawford of Ontario, Canada.

The project required the agitation of water for a two-story water slide, spray fountains, a 7.5 m x 3 m 100°F whirlpool spa, plus a 40 m x 13.3 m wave pool that needed a moisture removal capacity of 500-lbs/hr. In order to pull the job off a new dehumidifier was installed which would replace two existing dehumidifiers and an air handler which required more capacity but needed to fit in a cramped mechanical room with no shipping door access or adjacent space for expansion.

Instead of specifying two drop-in replacements the team put in one large Protocol NP-Series pool dehumidification unit that was custom-manufactured by Seresco Technologies. The main challenge was rigging the unit through the mechanical room’s outdoor air louver, which was enlarged to 9.1 ft x 9.8 ft for more access. Even with the larger opening, the company still had to factory-assemble the dehumidifier for testing before it was installed inside the mechanical room. The louver opening was then refitted with a new outdoor air damper by Ventex. The enlarged access was also beneficial for complying with ASHRAE Standard 62 outdoor rates that have increased since the original building’s construction in 1986.

The building was also concerned with reducing the facility’s IAQ. Goodkey Weedmark responded by increasing air volume by 20% and more air exchanges per hour. The new dehumidifier was also specified with a purge option that expedites a purge of all indoor air in only 8 minutes if chloramines becomes excessive or after periodical water chemistry shock treatments. The IAQ improvements were critical to the project’s success since the original dehumidifiers didn’t operate to the manufacturer’s specifications and were also undersized for the original design.

The retrofit was challenging because one large package unit with many more options and and features than the two original units had to fit in a mechanical room without compromising existing ductwork that would have decreased airflow or air exchange rates. The result is a 1980s natatorium that now boasts state-of-the-art IAQ for Kanata citizens.

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