Diving Into Solar Power

Guest post by Janine Chicourrat, General Manager, Portola Hotel & Spa

Here at the Portola Hotel & Spa we are constantly implementing ways for our entire hotel and spa operations to be greener and more energy efficient. By utilizing alternative sources of energy such as solar power, we are able to save energy and greatly reduce our impact. As one of Central California’s first LEED® Certified Hotel’s by the U.S. Green Building Council, we truly are committed to “leeding” the way for other hotels and commercial properties throughout California and beyond.

Most recently, we completed the conversion of our conventional pool heating system to a solar heating system (even better, it’s made in the United States). Now in our warmest months, the pool will be solely heated by our new Suntrek solar heater. In cooler months such as April and October, 80% of the heat will be provided by the solar heater and 20% of provided by a gas heater, which will serve as a supplementary heating system during the winter months as well. By converting to this type of energy efficient heating system, the hotel is now saving thousands of dollars over the year and not using any additional, unnecessary energy.

Pool Solar Heater 3

Suntrek Solar Panels Installed on the Roof of the Portola Hotel & Spa

We asked our heating systems company, Suntrek Thermal-Solar Pool Heaters out of Irvine, California to answer a couple of more technical questions.

How does a solar pool heater work?

A solar pool heating system uses your pool’s existing filter pump to circulate water through the system. A diverter valve diverts the water so that it flows through the many small passages of the solar collector where it is warmed by the sun. This warm water then flows back to the pool until the pool has reached your desired temperature.

What about the environment?

Gas heaters pollute the air directly with carbon dioxide and other emissions. In contrast, solar requires no fossil fuels. It is a clean, abundant energy source that will never contribute to pollution or the depletion of natural resources.

To learn more about our other green initiatives at the Portola Hotel & Spa visit http://www.portolahotel.com/green.

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