One of the oldest public swimming pools in the country has been transformed into one of the greenest and healthiest places to swim indoors on the planet. “The Plunge”, also known as the Richmond Municipal Natatorium, has been brought back from the dead after being closed for nearly a decade because of lack of public funds for maintenance and necessary upgrades. The historic 1925 pool reopened on August 14, 2010 in Point Richmond, California.
The refurbished 324,000 gallon pool now features chlorine-free saline water sanitized with ultraviolet light, solar heating, solar electric power, highly efficient pumps and 300 operable windows for natural ventilation. The $7.5-million makeover was paid for with a combination of voter-approved funds and private donations. A portion of the grounds are now dedicated to a community food garden.
This type of project is the wave of the future. Governments and other public-service entities need to take the lead on the issues of energy efficiency, alternative energy use and public health. If government sets the example, these types of projects will seep into the mainstream and become the norm much more quickly.
Up to this point, most projects of this sort have been undertaken by private-sector companies. The companies are not spending this money just as a public service or for good PR. They are doing it because they can see the writing on the wall and know it makes good long-term financial sense. Government on all levels needs to adopt such a long-term outlook and jump on the bandwagon sooner rather than later.
For photos and more information, click these links: http://solar.calfinder.com/blog/news/richmond-plunge-green-pool/ and http://www.metaefficient.com/architecture-and-building/efficient-public-swimming-pool.html.