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The Royal Glenora Club, one of Alberta’s most exclusive private clubs, has just completed a major expansion. The piece de resistance? A beautiful aquatic facility with a retractable glass OpenAire enclosure. When the roof is open in Edmonton’s short, sunny summers, members can enjoy an outdoor swim in a fresh, inviting environment. In the long winter months, they get the benefit of an airy, light-filled space with beautiful views of the surrounding river valley, which feels like outdoor swimming – without any worries about cold winds, rain or snow.
“People want to swim in bright, open environments, ” says Mark Albertine, President, OpenAire. “Having an OpenAire retractable pool enclosure is just like swimming outside. When it’s closed, you can look up and see the sky, and enjoy the views outside, even in the winter. And in the summer, when the roof opens up, you actually ARE outside, with the sun shining in and the breeze on your skin. There’s nothing quite like it – the members at the Royal Glenora are very excited about the new pool.”
OpenAire joined the high-profile project through the recommendation of Brinsmead Ziola Kennedy Architecture, the firm that designed the Royal Glenora expansion. Brinsmead were introduced to OpenAire through Toronto’s prestigious Granite Club, which also features a retractable OpenAire pool enclosure.
The new facility has replaced an outdated outdoor pool – which had limited value for members because it could only be used for a couple of months every year. The old pool was torn out, and two new ones – a lap pool and a shallow, kid-friendly pool – were constructed in its place. OpenAire designed, manufactured and installed the 82’ wide, 175’ long and 24’ high retractable enclosure for the two pools.
Installing the retractable structure and tying it in to the existing buildings required OpenAire to work in conjunction with the architect and general contractor, Clark Builders.
“Working with different partners is one of our greatest strengths, ” says Albertine. “A collaborative attitude is absolutely essential for an expansion like this one to go smoothly.”
The idea of having a glass structure in Edmonton’s cold climate was initially met with skepticism. The concern was that heating costs would end up being prohibitive. To allay the Club’s concerns, OpenAire commissioned an energy analysis comparing an OpenAire building to conventional construction. The results, independently verified by the club’s own engineers, showed that even in northern Alberta, the combination of solar gain, natural light and natural venting would provide superior energy performance.
Albertine also invited them to visit two OpenAire projects built in climates with cold winters and heavy snowfall. They toured the Granite Club in Toronto, as well as the Americana Conference Resort and Spa in Niagara Falls that has a huge indoor waterpark with a retractable glass roof.
In addition, he pointed them to a viability study conducted for another municipal pool project, which showed that an OpenAire building costs significantly less over its life cycle than a traditionally built structure. Although initial costs are higher, and heating it in winter does cost more, those expenses are more than balanced out by several factors:
Not having to light the pool during daylight hours offers tremendous electricity savings, which can be realized year-round (as opposed to heat, which is only a cost consideration in colder months). In the summer months, when daylight lasts until 9pm or later, those costs are negligible.
In the summer months, being able to open up the roof means avoiding the cost of running dehumidification systems. (And Edmonton gets very little rain in summer, which means the roof can stay open most days.)
The maintenance-free nature of the aluminum structure also offers significant long-term savings. An OpenAire building doesn’t incur costs associated with the caustic chlorine degradation faced by traditional buildings.
An OpenAire structure offers savings over a traditionally-built, insulated pool, with significantly less impact on the environment and a lot more appeal for users. Based on the results of the study and their visits to other OpenAire buildings, the stakeholders at the Royal Glenora decided to go ahead with the glass structure.
“Now the Royal Glenora is able to offer members an outdoor feeling year-round, which is something that’s pretty unusual in a place with such a short summer. And we’ve managed to reduce energy costs while increasing members’ usage and enjoyment. It really is the best of both worlds.”
The recent grand opening was a great success. Members are thrilled with the newly renovated facility, and are planning to visit the club more often. After all, with the OpenAire retractable roof, it’s the only spot in Edmonton where the weather’s always perfect for a swim.
OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality retractable roof enclosures and skylights for over 20 years. Their projects include the LEED Gold certified Salinas Aquatic Center in Salinas, California, Roseville’s Central Park Indoor Pool, Big Splash Island in French Lick, Indiana, the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas and the world’s largest indoor waterpark with a retractable aluminum dome in Ukraine. By combining your unique vision with OpenAire’s expertise, incredible venues are a reality.