Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 27, 2014) - Something is different at Benyaurd Pool.

While patrons won't see any changes, a new solar collector system on the roof will help heat the pool water, saving Fort Belvoir thousands of dollars in energy costs.

The system was fully installed and connected to the pool's plumbing March 19.

"The choice of solar energy for the Benyaurd Pool is the most cost-effective form of pool heating, with no additional operating cost, low maintenance and an endless supply of free heat from the sun," said Robert Zinkwich, Fort Belvoir Directorate of Public Works, energy manager.

The solar collector system is expected to save Fort Belvoir $11,477 per year - more than 40 percent of what it costs to heat the pool annually using natural gas, Zinkwich said.

"The savings will add to the installation's reduction in energy intensity goals by three percent annually and 30 percent by fiscal year 2015," he said.

The pool's existing pump system will divert water to the solar collectors on the roof to be heated by the sun's energy before it gets pumped back down into the pool, Zinkwich said.

The system will raise the unheated water temperature by 10 to 15 degrees Farenheit, he added, until the pool's desired water temperature is reached.

"The solar system works in conjunction with the existing natural gas fired heater, which will heat the pool on days when the sun's radiant energy is nonexistent," Zinkwich said. "When the sun's intensity permits and ambient outside temperature is above the 40- to 50-degree Farenheit mark continuously, the solar system will be the primary source of heating the pool."

The new system at Benyaurd Pool is one of many energy-saving measures Fort Belvoir has implemented to save money and natural resources, Zinkwich said.

"Fort Belvoir continues to study renewable energy technologies to meet the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Order 13423 goals for electrical renewable energy," he said.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established energy management goals for Federal facilities, and Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management, made those energy goals more challenging when it was signed Jan. 24, 2007, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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