The California Aquatics Therapy & Wellness Center has awarded a solar pool heating project to AMECO, a local company that is considered a pioneer and leader in the solar industry.
Originally organized as the California Communities Pool for the Handicapped in 1956 by civic leader Evelyn DuPont, the nonprofit organization offers accessible and affordable aquatic therapy to nearly 2,000 children and adults each year.
Because therapeutic pools are typically warmer than the average pool, heating the two community pools has become a significant expense for the center, costing upwards of $13,000 a year. The original solar pool heater, installed by AMECO in 1981, was removed in order to replace the roof and make way for more efficient solar panels that will offset the energy needed to heat the pools.
“California Aquatics Therapy & Wellness Center has been a long-standing institution in Long Beach for fifty years now. We’re honored to provide them with clean, renewable energy so that they can lower their utility bill and direct the savings to support their integral community programs,” said Pat Redgate, President & CEO of AMECO.
Community programs include aquatic therapy and rehabilitation sessions offered to children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and muscular dystrophy. Many of the pool’s members spend all day in their wheel chairs explained Kit Gabel, the Aquatic Director who has worked at the center for five years. “This is the only time that they can feel free,” he said.
The center also provides programs including ‘Moovin and Groovin’ for children from low-income families and aquatic exercise classes for the elderly.
Funding for the project is provided by the Port of Long Beach as a grant to reduce greenhouse gasses. In addition to the solar system installation, the grant will provide funds to educate local community members about solar energy.