The Richmond Municipal Natatorium, a historic community pool whose existence dates back in 1925 was just a step away from losing its identity due to a lack of funding for maintenance and seismic upgrades forced the Richmond City Council to close the pool. But, recently this iconic landmark has got a green renewal, courtesy the Richmond Friends of Recreation. Reopened on August 14, the Richmond Plunge is being called the healthiest and “greenest” pool in the United States.
The $7.5 million project backed by city redevelopment funds, individual grants and personal donations includes green features like water conservation, energy efficiency, natural ventilation and a re-purposed mushroom fountain. Non-chlorinated saline water makes the plunge into the 60′x160′, 324,000-gallon pool a pleasurable experience. The water is heated by 3,500 square feet of solar thermal collectors, while 30 kilowatts energy generated from the solar electric panels is used to power the facility.
The Natatorium’s building does it bit for the environment with the 300 operable windows, high-efficiency boiler system and state of the art pool pumps. Just outside the structure’s west side, a huge plot is reserved for a community food garden. Todd Jersey Architecture performed the rehabilitation and renovation of the Plunge, while Sun Light & Power installed the solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. Heliodyne, a 34-year-old solar company manufactured the solar heating equipment used to heat the pool. The Richmond Plunge loaded with green features and historic status will prove to be an ideal location to get wet and wild.