The retrofit of the Donald Richards Community Pool HVAC system, completed in the spring of this year, was by no-means a conventional drop-in replacement. Instead, Cape Elizabeth, Maine officials opted for an upgrade that reduced their refrigerant liabilities and chloramines, efficiently recovered heat, increased mechanical equipment lifecycles, and added efficient serviceability that reformed the 45-year-old natatorium a state-of-the-art facility again. 

The dehumidifier replacement, a NP-030 Protocol dehumidifier, manufactured by Seresco USA, Decatur, Ga., and other energy-intensive mechanical systems will bear the brunt of bringing the retrofit’s payback under nine years, according to the city’s former Director of Facilities and Transportation, Greg Marles, CPO, CPM, LEED-GA. The city accomplished a myriad of unique design objectives: 

  • reduce chloramines and improve indoor air quality and air comfort 

  • eliminate approximately $30,000 annual costs the last four years to maintain the previous dehumidifier

  • cut environmentally-damaging refrigerant use by 75-percent

  • decrease maintenance costs

  • return the space to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and the water to 81 degrees Fahrenheit and reduce the facility’s relative humidity by 50 percent. 

Unlike the previous dehumidifier, which suffered premature component degradation, the Protocol’s design protects coils and a double wall-insulated encasement with a fully-dipped in an anti-corrosion coating. It also positions components and electronics in protected compartments out of the humid, chemical-laden airstream. 

Most importantly, the unit is designed with dozens of sensors and transducers that report more than 60 real-time parameters to its on-board CommandCenter, which can be accessed remotely by Seresco’s proprietary web-browser based WebSentry from a smartphone or PC. 

The retrofit design also required glycol to limit the city’s reliance on refrigerants that can potentially leak and cause environmental damage and costly repairs. For example, the Protocol dehumidifier uses 75 percent less refrigerant than the unit it replaced. Instead, heat rejection uses glycol piped to dry coolers. 

The city’s pool retrofit fit its green mission. Careful planning helped reach sustainability goals, while still reforming the 45-year-old pool into a state-of-the-art facility. 



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