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Windbreaks at outdoor pools save money, and reduce goosebumps

August 13 2014

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important step in Vancouver becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020,” said Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper.

Second Beach Pool with a black mesh windbreak

An energy conservation initiative by the Vancouver Park Board is significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), saving money and reducing goosebumps at two outdoor pools this summer.

Windbreaks at Kitsilano Pool and Second Beach Pool (in Stanley Park) have reduced GHGs by 220 metric tonnes – the equivalent of removing 46 cars from city streets. The initiative saved approximately $44,000 in natural gas consumption – a saving of about 25 per cent over the previous year. The windbreaks also protect swimmers and sunbathers from chilly prevailing winds. 

Two different windbreaks – one in black mesh and the other clear – were installed at Kits Pool in mid-May. The black mesh was replaced by clear screen and is still in place. A black mesh windbreak was installed at Second Beach in mid-May and removed in mid-July.

Windbreaks help support Greenest City goal

“This initiative began as a pilot, but feedback from swimmers has been positive so we’ll be installing clear windbreaks at the pools in future years,” said Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important step in Vancouver becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020.”
The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan has a target to reduce community-based GHG emissions by 33% from 2007 levels. 
Outdoor pools are big energy consumers. Kits Pool, for instance, can lose up to 7 GJ (gigajoules) of heat per hour. The installation of the windbreaks follows a recent eight-month study by UBC Engineering students on options to reduce energy consumption at Kits Pool.

City pools a popular option to stay cool

This summer’s warm, dry weather has led to busy City beaches and pools.

Visitor numbers at three of the city’s largest outdoor pools between May 17 and August 7:

  • 114,990 people visited Kits Pool, an increase of 4% during the same time period in 2013. This follows a 34% increase last year over 2012.
  • 63,777 people visited Second Beach Pool, a 10% decrease over last year, although it, too, experienced a large increase of 46% in 2013 from 2012.
  • 42,980 people visited New Brighton Pool in East Vancouver’s New Brighton Park, an 8.5% increase in 2014 over 2013. It experienced a 27.5% increase last year over 2012

All outdoor pools will close after Labour Day except Kitsilano Pool, which is open until September 14.

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