Friday, February 29, 2008

Waterparks Going Green: Some Tips to Get You Started

Chris Perry, general manager of Wild Wadi Water Park, is a member of the IAAPA Waterpark Committee. The committee met in February to discuss a variety of industry issues and association objectives. Opportunities and ideas for going green in parks is just one of the many “hot topics” facing waterparks today. Over the next several months, you will see a number of these issues addressed in articles by IAAPA Waterpark Committee members. We've included Chris' thoughts here, and for more on waterparks, click over to their community page at IAAPA.org. We welcome your comments.

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This is a hot topic in all industries right now, and I believe it is here to stay rather than the latest fad. Many people think of going green as being environmentally friendly, so they start recycling. This is very noble, and a great start, but there is so much more to look at, and instead of just focusing on the environmental side, I believe the staying power and value to any facility lies in being Corporately Socially Responsible (CSR). So, let’s discuss the environmental aspects of CSR.

On the environmental side there are numerous ways to be responsible:


Recycle

Plastic (water/soft drink bottles), cardboard, paper (in the offices), cooking oil, ink cartridges, and I’m sure there are others.


Use Recycled Products and Find Suppliers Who Provide Them

• Use recycled papers in your offices and F&B operations.

• Use recycled plastics for signs, picnic tables, garbage cans, and sun loungers.

• Use cleaning equipment and supplies that are environmentally “safe” or organic.

• Ban the use of Styrofoam in your operation and suppliers shipments.

• Buy local supplies when possible to cut down on the fuel emissions of transporting supplies across the country (or across the world).


Water Savings

• Filters: Re-use your backwash water or look into the new generation of filters that use considerably less water (and energy) than ones of old.

• Toilet/sink/shower sensors: Instead of having sinks, showers, and toilets that flush, utilize the latest technology in sensors to reduce your water consumption.

• Investigate how much water is consumed per flush in your toilets and investigate more efficient toilets.


Energy Savings

• Start an Internal campaign to turn lights, air-conditioning, and computers off when not in use.

• Use fluorescent light bulbs vs. incandescent. I know a park that went from 470 kW/day to 15 kW/day (this is probably why California is banning incandescent light bulbs).

• Put air-conditioning on timers (so it isn’t used as frequently in off-peak hours).

• Shut down heat exchangers/calorifiers at night (often they can retain the heat through the night).

• Look at your parking structure exhaust fans. Energy can be saved in the evenings when the parking garage is not in use (exhaust settings to be looked at).


Earn a LEED Certification

• LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, as developed by the United States Green Building Council.

• This certification “is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being.”

• For more information, visit http://www.nrdc.org/buildinggreen/leed.asp, or grab a copy of the March issue of FUNWORLD, where the cover story on the Las Vegas Springs Preserve discusses LEED certification and green design.


Other Options to Consider

• Use “gray” water for landscaping where practical.

• Become ISO 14001 certified for Environmental Management (http://www.iso14000-iso14001-environmental-management.com/iso14001.htm)

• Use solar panels to heat your pool water. (http://www.recmanagement.com/200710gc02.php)

These are just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing as to how you can begin this “green” process at your park.

2 comments:

Steven said...

Look at the Las Vegas WET project that's being developed. They are going to be generating their own electricity using fuel cells, wind, solar, and microturbines; they will be heating the water in their waterpark (and hotels and elsewhere) using solar and the heat by-product of the fuel cells and microturbines; they have extensive composting/recycling protocols being developed; they will be filtering and reusing all the gray water; and all their vehicles will either be electric or fuel cell (hydrogen).

This will be the first fuel-cell powered installation of this type (large scale commercial) in Nevada. It's pretty cool stuff!

Anonymous said...

Use pool covers overnight. Covers are inexpensive and very effective at reducing pool heating costs.