John A. Logan College (JALC) has a history of implementing energy efficiency improvements to reduce energy costs and to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Major improvements include installing high efficiency pool heaters and high efficiency chillers, converting pneumatic controls to direct digital controls (DDC), retrofitting interior and exterior lighting, a 10-acre solar electric project, and more.
In 2017 SEDAC conducted research to find out how much energy could be saved by installing two pool covers at the Community Health Education Building, which houses a lap and a therapy pool. Although this building represents approximately 5% of the overall square footage at JALC, energy bill analysis revealed that for some months, this facility consumes nearly 50% of the College’s energy usage. The constant evaporation of water from these uncovered pools, leading to constant dehumidification and heating, proved to be the source of this excessive energy usage. Pool covers can reduce evaporation from the pool surfaces during unoccupied periods (approximately 4,500 hours/year).
In December of 2019 JALC applied for a $185,000 grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network to fund a pool cover project. The proposal was funded, and two automated pool covers were installed in June 2020. Total savings are approximately $27,800 per year. Additionally, the pool covers have led to a reduction in CO2 emissions by approximately 150 metric tons of CO2 per year. While the installed cost of $185,000 may seem high, the significant annual savings have led to a signification return on investment with a simple payback occurring in approximately seven years.