The Recreation Centers of Sun City West will be seeing green in the New Year! With a new emphasis on renewable energies, the Rec Centers hopes not only to be a community steward but to save a bit of green in the process.
The Association actually has been balancing environmental and economic benefits for a while – installing CFL light bulbs and low-flow water devices, and reducing the amount of turf (and therefore the amount of water and chemicals used) on the courses. But starting in December, the efforts will step up another notch as the Association installs its first solar panels.
The solar thermal project has begun at Beardsley Recreation Center. The panels will heat the pool, spa, and domestic water supply, and even heat the air in the building. The project has been in the works a couple years as the Association had to apply for energy credits and design the project with the contractor, but it is now coming to fruition. It will be up and running by late January, and is expected to cut Beardsley’s natural gas bill by about 40 percent. The overall project cost $195,000, but thanks to the energy credits, the Association’s cost is reduced to $22,800.
The Solar Initiative is meant not only to reduce natural gas costs, but to cut electric costs as well. Association-wide, the Rec Centers spends about $1 million with APS for is electricity needs.
In January, the Rec Centers will install solar lighting in the small dog park. If it proves successful, solar lights will also be installed in the large dog park.
The Solar Initiative is also examining the possibility of installing solar electric at some of the other facilities, including golf course maintenance yards. The Association will be sending bids to three companies for an initial project that would install solar electric panels at Echo Mesa Maintenance Yard. That project is expected to generate enough electricity to power the entire maintenance yard.
The Rec Centers continues with its ongoing program of recycling, reducing water usage, taking advantage of posting more materials online to save in paper costs, and other environmentally friendly management alternatives.