It’s officially summer vacation season. Finally.
Time to take trips to the lake or the beach, and go swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, and exploring. Enjoying all these activities usually means planning out several different trips, but Gulf State Park offers all of the above within walking distance of a new hotel built with sustainability in mind.
The Gulf State Park Lodge is a guest lodge and meeting facility currently being constructed along the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. In a demonstration of resilience, the project has been made possible using funds collected from the 2010 BP oil spill and is being constructed on a smaller portion of the site of the existing lodge that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan 2004.
To develop the land in the most sustainable way, the project has been designed to meet SITES Platinum certification requirements. SITES is a comprehensive rating system designed to encourage biomimicry, increase outdoor recreation opportunities, and reduce water demand. Addressing reduction of water demand presented a challenge for the project team since a significant amount of water is required to maintain the water level in the swimming pool. When pool water is lost due to evaporation or splash-out, make-up water must be provided. By designing a condensate recovery system that utilizes moisture from the humid climate in Gulf Shores to provide fresh water for the pool, we were able to significantly reduce potable water used for pool make-up.
Three Energy Recovery Units (ERUs), located on the roof of the three Guestroom buildings, provide conditioned ventilation air to the guestroom spaces. Before introducing outside air into the building, humidity is reduced by cooling the outside air enough to remove moisture. The moisture that is removed, called condensate, is then collected and funneled through condensate piping to a large tank located in the pool equipment room. Whenever the pool water levels drop, the condensate tank sends fresh water to the pool, reducing the need to use potable water.