Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

This content was published: December 21, 2010. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Sylvania’s pools get new energy-efficient dehumidifiers

Story by Kate Chester. Photos by James Hill.

They’re big, they’re powerful, and they’re energy efficient – anticipated to save the Sylvania Campus nearly 30 percent annually in energy costs.

Two Desert Aire dehumidifier units – 20 feet in length and 10 feet in height – have been installed in the Health Technology Building by Howard S. Wright Constructors. Their purpose is to reclaim heat from the air inside the campus swimming pool area.

One of the two dehumidifiers is lifted by a crane into position at the Sylvania Campus.

“The air inside the pool area is warmer because of the humidity and condensation,” said Gary Sutton, bond project manager at the Sylvania Campus. “The goal of the new dehumidification system is to suck that air inside the units, extract the heat, and transfer it to the water to help heat the pool.”

Up until now the boiler system, located near the Campus Services Building on the other end of campus, has served as the main heat source for the swimming pool through a complicated network of piping, valves and heat exchangers.

“The dehumidifiers will reduce the work and strain placed on the boiler system, making it more efficient and better able to serve the rest of the campus,” said Sutton.

Based on 12-month energy expenditure calculations from 2008-2009, the Sylvania Campus spends $1,586,000 in energy costs. The new dehumidification system will lower that figure by $475,800.

“The completion of this project moves Sylvania considerably closer to its goal of becoming a Net Zero campus and demonstrates PCC’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Sylvania Campus President Linda Gerber.

The cost of the dehumidification system is $1.2 million, according to Sutton. Portland Community College received a $1 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant for the project; the college is picking up the tab for the remaining costs.