When the village of Wellington, Fla., first took
over an aquatics facility that had been abandoned by its previous
owners, it was in rough shape. Leaks, cracks and algae growth in
the pool were just the beginning of the troubles. Back-to-back
hurricanes in 2005 and 2006 also damaged bathhouses and
But rather than hang their heads in despair, the facility’s
managers, led by Michelle Garvey, seized the opportunity.
Inspired by their young lifeguards, who had taken
it upon themselves to order poolside recycling bins and ride their
bikes to work to reduce their impact on the environment, Wellington
began investigating ways to renovate the facility in an
earth-friendly and cost-effective manner — two efforts that
go hand-in-hand, according to Garvey, the aquatic supervisor of the
First, the facility reduced paper waste and
maintenance costs with a few simple changes to its restrooms.
- Hand towel dispensers cut all towels into 12-inch
pieces instead of the former unlimited size sheets
- New toilet-tissue dispensers allow rolls to be
switched only when the last sheet is used.
- Cleaning chemicals were bought in 32-ounce concentrates that are poured into reusable bottles, saving $34 per case.
New energy-efficient light bulbs and motion
detectors at the aquatic complex further helped reduce expenses and
environmental impact. The lighting comes with a 25-year maintenance
contract and offers less off-site spill, which has been a big hit
with neighbors due to the facility’s new extended evening
In 2007, village officials also made a substantial
commitment to sustainability, replacing the quarterly paper program
guide with a Web site and e-mail blasts. E-mails are targeted to
specific demographics, such as ages 55 and older.
All told, Wellington’s eco-friendly efforts
have helped the facility reduce operating costs by 50 percent. But they’re just getting started.
New renovations planned for 2009 include changing
all lights in the showers and bathrooms to motion detectors. The
complex also will join a state water reclamation project that
installs new plumbing to reuse well water for irrigation of nearby
fields. — I.H.