• Waterparks go ‘green’
• Reducing environmental impact without reducing fun
Midwest waterparks take their carbon footprint seriously. Many are taking steps to ensure sustainability in aspects across the board - from heating and lighting to water quality and consumption.
While many actions may make financial sense, they also reduce their overall environmental impact, initiatives that all people and businesses need to consider.
With hundreds of waterparks throughout the US, a large number of them reside in the Midwest. Considering the growing number of waterparks, through new venues to expansions, small actions can create a significant impact.
Thatcher Robertson, Corporate Director of Waterparks, Kalahari Resorts has watched firsthand the changes and upgrades to sustainable programs and initiatives in the industry.
All three Kalahari facilities, in Wisconsin Dells, WI, Sandusky, OH, and Pocono Mountains, PA incorporate the latest tools and technology in sustainability.
Robertson shares, “I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, when you had standard pools, sand filters, chlorine, and diving boards. There wasn’t much thought given to sustainability, but everything has changed over the years with the advancement in the indoor waterparks industry.”
So what is Robertson, head of three of the Midwest’s largest waterparks, doing to keep things sustainable? Starting from the top down with special roofs. The roof in Sandusky is made from a special Teflon that allows the sun to keep the room heated. This offers such warmth and sun that in the winter months people have to be careful to not get sunburned. At the Pocono resort, they have gone a step further and have a retractable roof, similar to some sports stadiums.
Another initiative that is both efficient and environmentally friendly is their use of an innovative filtration system. In older systems, a sand filter was used, the new filtration called the Defender, is automated. Its use causes a domino effect, they can reduce the amount of fresh water needed and use less chemicals. To reduce chemicals in other ways an ultra violet system is being used which aids in sanitizing the pools.
Impressed? There is still more! Robertson notes that they are also changing to LED lighting in Kalahari’s waterparks. Electrical bills will be reduced as well as the extensive labor needed to reach tight spots.
With the special needs and trends pertinent to this industry, Vanderwalt and his peers come together to share ideas. “There are a lot of opportunities to grow in the aquatic field, and since we are a growing industry we are all a very close knit family. We use gatherings like the World Waterpark Association conventions to get together and discuss relevant issues, as well as conduct seminars and sessions to educate each other. We bounce ideas off of each other to take back to our own parks/pools to move forward, and keep the job fun and exciting. Every park has its own unique needs, and every park has to be run in its own unique way.”
Waterparks offer a great venue for fun year round. With the continued advancements in design and operation, they remain focused on improving their footprint and offering best practices in the sustainability movement.
Read more about utilizing Midwest Waterparks for your next meeting or event in our Fall 2016 Issue.