Friday, April 30, 2010

Lloyd Hamilton's words on the pool bubble

We have a new participant at TWL - Lloyd Hamilton. Here's his (unedited) take on the pool:

Cheshire Pool Evaluation and Remediation Report

I evaluated the current operation of the Pool Complex this spring prior to the pressurized dome being removed. Currently, the functionality of the building is extremely problematic and the building has deteriorated significantly. The leakage of warm moist air from the pressurized dome into the permanent structure creates a high vapor pressure within the permanent structure and the inner surfaces of the roof and exterior walls constantly condense the vapor during the winter. The rain inside the permanent structure during warm days in winter is from condensate that froze on the underside of the roof deck that melts in the warmer ventilation air. This condensate creates ideal conditions for the growth of mold. All of the sheetrock was removed from the building due to mold damage and contamination. The roof needs replacement due to rot.

The permanent structure can be made able to withstand the high vapor pressure without mold growth and without structure failure. I began the design process with the assumption that the building must be able to withstand wetting without damage as elimination of the moisture is not possible. I then addressed the vapor load and designed a significant reduction of the leakage rate through the existing pressure barrier while providing a direct route out of the building for the rest of the leakage. This will lower the daily vapor pressure while making the building able to withstand blasts of high leakage, such as during a swim meet. The net result will be a building that is able to function with the pressure dome while reducing energy consumption and increasing comfort.

My first task was to design a roof system that would withstand the moisture while keeping the inner surface warm enough to prevent condensation. I chose Advantech sheathing for its ability to withstand repeated wetting without failure. (The first time I saw it used on a job it was used as sub-flooring that remained exposed to the weather, without a roof, for three years with so little deterioration that it did not have to be leveled for installation of the wood floor.). On top of the Advantech Carlisle CCM-705 air and vapor barrier will be installed to create an impervious layer that also serves as a drainage plane for the roof. The moisture from within the building will be stopped by this layer with only a few molecules able to squeeze through. On top of the impervious layer, R-60 of insulation will be installed to keep the roof deck warm and keep the condensation point well away from the deck under all conditions. The moisture will go elsewhere to condense.

The roof intersects with metal stud knee walls on top of the inner masonry walls. In the lobby area these stud walls are more extensive, but built the same. These walls are currently draining their internal condensation down between the inner and outer masonry walls. The exterior walls are showing a lot of effervescence, a tell tale sign of excessive moisture movement through the wall. With the roof system no longer condensing most of the moisture, the walls will condense much more so my next task was to make the framed walls able to withstand the conditions. Again, preventing condensation is the key design criteria. The wall/roof interface is a critical point so I paid close attention to it. There are short knee walls, built of metal studs, where the barrel roof crosses over the inner masonry wall and by insulating them on the outside I can bring the insulation up to the roof and seal the interface with caulk and tape. I have specified Dow Metal Building sheathing for this air/moisture/thermal barrier.

The lobby has large framed walls with windows in them. These will need to have the windows and outside finish removed down to the metal studs. The side walls that are currently covered with metal, on the ends of the barrel roof, will also need to be stripped down to the metal studs. The Dow system will be installed over the metal studs, the same as the short knee walls and then a STO exterior insulation and finish system will be installed over all ofthe Dow product to complete the wall assembly.

The advantage to this make-over is that the building will no longer rain inside during the winter. Condensation will still occur at times, but it will be limited to the exterior masonry walls where the moisture can do little damage. This way the building can withstand any level of moisture intrusion from the pressurized dome without component failure and the condensation that does occur can be easily dealt with. If the existing masonry cladding system was also removed and the STO cladding system was installed, along with new windows, with insulation down to the footing, then none of the walls will ever condense.

However, simply making the building withstand the moisture is not a full solution to the problem. Reducing the amount of moisture intrusion must also be accomplished. This requires sealing up the existing pressure barriers so that they will not pass the huge quantities of air they now do and providing a direct vent to the outside to create a ducted route out of the building for the air and moisture. The air lock on the lifeguard side of the building will have a duct installed to the outside to vent the airlock and the center hinge door needs to be replaced. The walls and ceiling also need to be sealed at every seam. This will eliminate most of the air coming in through this opening in the concrete wall. On the public side, the revolving door needs to have a much better air seal and the wall and ceiling area that separates the pool area from the permanent structure will have to be sealed up air tight. The main corridor doors need to be repaired and have weather stripping installed. This will create an inner air lock that can be vented to the outside through a duct. The result will be that almost all of the leakage will be removed or vented which will keep most of the moisture from the building interior.

I have also discerned that the pressure inside the dome is kept at a 1.25”-1.5” of water column (wc) all of the time, when it only needs this pressure during a storm. The dome remained fully expanded at .75” wc and did not start to sag until the pressure was less than .5”wc. The pressure can be reduced most of the time which will also reduce the total leakage through the pressure barrier and help keep the permanent structure dry while reducing the energy used to keep the dome pressurized and warm.

The lobby area will still be susceptible to moisture at times, such as a swim meet, and therefor needs a vent to the outside. Because the need for this vent will vary based on the use of the building, it will have a manual control to vary the speed of the fan. The lifeguard side also needs have a vent with the same properties as the lobby vent. These vents, in conjunction with the existing locker room vent, can be operated to put the lobby and lifeguard areas in slight negative pressure relative to the outside, which will bring in dry outside air to replace the moist air from the dome and will help keep the building dry. When the building becomes too wet, the existing portable commercial dehumidifier can be used to remove the moisture.

The surfaces that were covered with sheetrock will be recovered with DensArmor Plus mold resistant interior drywall panels from Georgia-Pacific. Mold resistant paint will be used. This will make sure the drywall is not able to grow mold, no matter what the moisture load of the building is.

It is through a combination of making the building able to withstand moisture, reducing the moisture load by closing the leakage paths between the dome and permanent structure and providing ventilation in the right places that will make the permanent structure work with the pressure dome. This is not a band-aid approach, but rather a comprehensive, building science based, re-engineering of how the building functions to allow it to work with the pressure dome. The energy savings from this comprehensive approach should be at least 30% due to the reduction in outside air used to keep the dome pressurized and a reduction in the energy load of the pool and permanent structure, combined with better operation and utilization of the energy control system already installed.

Respectfully submitted,
Lloyd Hamilton
Verdae, LLC
90 Primrose Hill Road
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Comment away! And as I mentioned about ten days ago, I have very little time for the blog right now... so back to my paper on the economic meltdown... fun, fun!!! Currently debating if I should address the symptoms (Wall Street) or the disease (Washington, DC).

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Close it and make a parking lot.

Anonymous said...

yeah, lets dump a little more money into the pool fiasco -- sure, why not, we can afford it, right?

"make it a parking lot", I second that!

Anonymous said...

Certainly the bubble concept could be saved. Certainly the town could replace the old bubble with a new bubble. The town could invest in a new HVAC system too.

Through the process this town uses all too often to do anything the town has created the Money Sucking Ugly Bubble Pool. Through all the mess over the past 10 years there is always some group wanting to take tax payer money for the greater betterment of the pool for the town.

My thought for you Lloyd is why not buy the pool from the town and improve it using private money? In fact maybe at this point the town would gladly give you a 50 year free lease in return for just an annual property tax payment.

Certainly your ideas seem to have merit. If they would be economic for the town to pursue using tax payer money they would be just as economic for a private organization to pursue using private money from a bank loan or investors. Look at the locals investing in the proposed high school artificial turf field. Maybe some more would gladly hand over even more cash for a piece of the pool action too?

No doubt everyone in town who just loves and needs that pool would be willing to step up to the plate and pay for an annual unsubsidized market rate membership to use it too. Certainly it wouldn't really cost a person more than say the price of a pizza or 2 a week and in return they get to swim day in and day out.

This would be a win-win. Private energy expert gets to put his money where his expertise is. Town folk who just have to have a 365 day per year pool get a pool. The rest of us who grew up believing swimming was either for the summer time or for places like Florida keep our hard earned dollars for trips to warmer places in the winter.

Anonymous said...

The private ownership is already being worked on. The question is would the Town sell the pool for a small amount. Second if it goes to a private owner there is no guarantee the swim teams would have priority on swim times and swim meet schedules. Oh well....

Anonymous said...

So we need to replace the roof again. We need to replace the SHEETROCK again. I think we need to replace the public building officials and committee members as well since we are replacing everything else

While we are replacing, let's replace the pool with a thick coat of asphault and some yellow stripes. It would be more functional to all


Anonymous said...

This report from Lloyd Hamilton sounds just like the report he submitted to the Town Council last spring when bids were put out in regards to the mold problem. You can read the town council minutes for yourself at the towns website

I'm curious Tim why you would be bringing this up now - you were a vocal member of the council when Mr Hamilton presented his report last year? And you have been a member of the council when follow up discussions have occurred regarding Mr Hamiltons suggestions.

So what was your intent on putting old news up as new news?

Anonymous said...

To the poster who feels....

No doubt everyone in town who just loves and needs that pool would be willing to step up to the plate and pay for an annual unsubsidized market rate membership to use it too.

I'll pay for an annual unsubsidized market rate membership for the pool the day the seniors pay an annual unsubsidized rate membership for their use of the Senior Center (which can only be used by the 20% of the population that is over 55 - and cost the taxpayers MORE to provide than the pool which is open for use by every town resident)

By the way I am not advocating we do that to Senior Center because I recognize that like the pool, the Senior Center provides value to the community as a whole. (Even though no one I know uses the Senior Center including my parents who have lived in town for almost 50 years)

Anonymous said...

There will be plenty of free fill (arguable) just across the street for the pool when the turf field is installed. Fill it in. Maybe we can make it muddy and hold monster truck events in it.

Charley said...

The town really lost something when the town movie theater closed down. Sink the pool and put in a small movie theater.
It'll keep people and their $ local; great for birthday parties, midday matinees, dates for our teens and a good reason for our seniors to get out for the evening.

Anonymous said...

So the town should be in the movie business. Aren't PZC and Council meetings enough movie making for the town?

Anonymous said...

"I'll pay for an annual unsubsidized market rate membership for the pool the day the seniors pay an annual unsubsidized rate membership for their use of the Senior Center (which can only be used by the 20% of the population that is over 55 - and cost the taxpayers MORE to provide than the pool which is open for use by every town resident)"

There is nothing like paying your own way in life. Are you saying I should help to pay your way to subsidized February swims in a nice warm, well manned town pool?

You are right to question the money spent on the senior center too. While you are at it why don't you ask a question or 2 about the outrageous local teacher union labor contracts too?

Folks with your, me too attitude, assuming that by whining you can always force the majority to subsidize some minority interest are causing the uncontrolled increasing spiral associated with local taxes.

It is way past time to cut positions and freeze budgets until the regional economy really begins to recover.

If you want to prioritize where the tax dollars go by population percentage if your 20% guess for the over 55 population is correct then it trumps school children which are at about 15% and declining yearly. Since there are more townspeople eligible to use the senior center then are eligible for seats in the K-12 school system, maybe directing large sums of money to the senior center is warranted.

Lloyd Hamilton said...

Yes,this is the report I gave the town last year. I wanted to make sure that folks read what I wrote, so that would see that there was real science behind the design and that the design did work.

Why bring it up now? Because it worked. Because the pool and bubble work together now.

The response has been mostly about the town paying for the pool as a public benefit. I do not have a dog in that fight, but I do know the town has great swim teams and I know the pool is available for all.

I also know that there is a way to make the pool cost a lot less to operate so that it can provide all the value to the town with little tax payer dollars to sustain it.

tim white said...

So what was your intent on putting old news up as new news?

No ulterior motive, other than content. And I didn't recall posting it last year. So for many people, this was probably new. Oh... and also because Mr. Hamilton was sending me emails with an accusatory tone asking about "hiding" stuff... which is nonsense IMO. So I figured I'd just put the whole thing out there.

Lloyd Hamilton said...

I suppose no one has hidden agenda.

Lets just assume that everyone has the best interest of the town and the pool front and center.

I read that the new permanent building will pay for itself with energy savings, and then look at the underlying calculations and know that it will never happen. The energy use of the proposed building is more than projected.

I also see that the energy use is so high, and continuous, that renewable energy is the only way to actually save operating cost in any significant way.

Lloyd Hamilton said...

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE happens when beliefs come in conflict with reality and people bend reality to match beliefs rather than changing beliefs to match reality.

I believe this is what is happening with the pool and bubble. Everyone in town and the area knows the bubble has never worked and that experts who tried to fix it failed, so therefor the bubble will never work. The fact that I came along and fixed the bubble/building interface using building science conflicts with everyones belief that the bubble will never work. So the solution seems to be to ignore that it has been fixed and find excuses, half truths and innuendos or to attack me and the science I use.

Then I say the solution those who spent so much time crafting is faulty due to the fact that the permanent building will use more energy than projected. Instead of getting another outside expert qualified to evaluate all options, my information is ignored or attacked.

So you can keep your cognitive dissonance, but your beliefs wont change reality, and the energy bills will be what they are. The laws of thermodynamics are real, it does not matter if you believe in them or not.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hamilton, shame on you for getting involved on this blog, for taking it personally and for trying to fix the pool. What you did may have corrected the problem inside the concrete block bunker building, and for that you should be rewarded. You have not addressed the issue of highly pressurized, moist air being forced into the outside surface of the great block wall. Like many homeowners to prevent water from leaking into the basement you have to remove soil from the outside of the foundation and apply tar or some other barrier. Applying Hydrolock on the inside only minimizes the leakage, does not stop it. The issues you have failed to address is the high humidity in the pool area, the overall bad indoor air environment and the pressure within the bubble forcing moisture laden air into the block wall. You may saved energy for the block building portion of the structure but as there are not measurement systems that can differentiate between energy spent in the building and the pool area then the point becomes worthless. To properly evaluate how the building performs requires a set of measurement devices foe temp,RH,pressure to be properly placed within the structure. Baseline data to be taken, changes made, measurements taken again and so on. The problem is the bubble is an incorrect method, although cheap to cover the pool. It has not worked and it will not work unless you include dehumidification for a bubble solution, plus all HVAC equipment. After reviewing the RFP you could have proposed a bubble solution, but you did not. Stating you needed the winter to validate your proposed solution is invalid, as that would have meant you have not provided this solution to a pool bubble before now. Doubling R factors does not cut heating cost by 50%. It is too bad, you seem to be a creative person and is willing to look at all possibilities to resolve a problem. The problem is you may have hitched your wagon to team of political ponies, if you really want to help unhitch your wagon.

Lloyd Hamilton said...

The idea that moisture is moving through the concrete wall is just wrong. How do I know, because of a thing called effervescent. When moisture moves through concrete it dissolves some of the lime and leaves it as a deposit on the outside. Look at brick buildings in town, up at the top of the brick wall you will see white deposits, this is effervescent. None of it exists on the pool "great wall".

Two engineers have inspected the wall, one on the town payroll. Both saw no sign of problem from moisture.

The u factor measures movement of heat through a material, or conductivity. It is in btus per hour per square foot per degree differential between the two sides of the material. If you cut the conductivity in half the u value will be cut in half as only half as many btus will move through it for any given temperature differential. R value is the inverse of u, it measures the resistance to the movement of heat through the material. if the u is .5 the R factor is 2, if u is .25 the R factor is 4. See it is a simple mathematical formula. It derives from the laws of thermodynamics. The are laws because they are fully understood and the math to describe them is fixed.

So, unless you have managed to change the laws of thermodynamics, I once again bring your attention to cognitive dissonance. Just because someone says something over and over again does not change reality.

As for indoor air quality, I have been in alot of indoor pools and the air quality is not an issue in the pool area.

Interestingly, the dehumidification the proposed buildings need will make the pool area less enjoyable. It has to do with evaporation. With low humidity maintained in a pool area a swimmer is quickly chilled even when the air temperature is above 80. The proposed buildings have to have low humidity because they have low surface temperatures and need low humidity. In fact low humidity is not enough for the plastic building, it also needs REALLY DRY air blown over the surface to remove the condensation that builds up even in a low humidity environment. I am not saying this, the manufacturer says it, read the minutes. This is how I know the proposed building cannot be as energy efficient as claimed. with an R-6 window the inside relative humidity can be at least 50%. I know this from experience (it also fits the math for the laws of thermodynamics) I also know that aluminum framed windows are never anywhere near R-6 (that pesky math again) glass or plastic windows, it does not matter.

I ask you, Anonymous, why do you think I should be ashamed of myself. Is is because I am giving away my expert advice? Is it because you believe that Tom only wants rants and raves from left (or right) field? I believe this blog is a way to get at truth. If I was just trying to be a trouble maker,spouting nonsense, I would also be anonymous.

I am also not ashamed for fixing the pool, I was paid for that and earned my fee. You may be upset that the pool is fixed, but I do not know why.

People seem unwilling to believe I fixed the pool/bubble problem after seeing the result. The PBC and TC are not very receptive to a new bubble even after presented with the facts of the working pool/bubble.

I am not political in this, I fail to see how this is Democratic, Republican or Tea Party politics. I also did not know this blog was reserved for one sided debate. I apologize for taking up space asnd your time with facts.

taxpayer said...

Thanks Mr Hamilton,

I appreciate the facts as you have presented them.

Anonymous said...

Cheshire should have a decent indoor pool. Our mistake in the beginning was not putting a permanent enclosure over it. Then again, the consensus was to have an indoor/outdoor facility since Mixville is not exactly the type of environment people would like to use on a regular basis. Tough for the various swim teams to hold meets at Mixville. Many seniors use the pool for exercise class....and I doubt you would get them to classes at Mixville. The bubble was viewed as a logical compromise for an indoor/outdoor facility.
Having a pool is not an absolute necessity (like a fire department) but neither is the rail trail or the Senior Center. A pool is not some outrageous is a common municipal service that is used by many people in communities all across the country.
Our challenge is to fix what we have. The cheap solution is another bubble......but bubbles over pools don't work well and we have six or seven years of experience with that option. I would urge the naysayers to visit the Orange Y pool and see what the enclosed glass structure looks like......and feels like. My guess is that there would be more revenue brought into the pool facility with a glass enclosure since the entire facility will be more attractive. While I would not suggest that the pool will ever be a money maker for the town, it will not be a huge money waster either.
The operating costs for the pool (taxpayer subsidy)is LESS than for the Senior Center and it gets a lot more use. For all the bad press, the pool's $360,000 cost to the town in a $95 million dollar budget is, well, a drop in the bucket. If we are smart and make the right choice in solving the bubble problem, the revenue will go up and the subsidy will go down. Not a bad outcome.

Anonymous said...

12:27 - -"A pool is not some outrageous is a common municipal service that is used by many people in communities all across the country."

You gotta be kidding. Just how many pools does a town need to build and destroy before you no longer consider it a municipal service used by many? The town has clearly had its chance and as with many physical projects town government blew it big time.

You want to swim 365 days per year, go join a pool club somewhere and use your own hard earned money to get in. Personally I feel my own hard earned money belongs to me and should not be available for those who want to keep playing the town pool game.

The TC should take a look down RT 10 at Hamden's plan to dump it's municipal ice rink. Think of it, Hamden actually has what could be described as a refrigerated in-door pool for skating in July! See the 4 May NHR article "Hamden takes steps to privatize ice rink" for details.

That town now wants it privatized and no doubt we could privatize the town pool too. That would probably result in a pool which was used by many more people more often along with property tax revenues paid by the pool facility and a reduction in property taxes for home owners. Very few town residents should be against more facilities paying property tax and current property owners paying less tax.

Anonymous said...

"You may be upset that the pool is fixed, but I do not know why."

We are upset because of the amount of money this has and still is costing the town. We were all told when we were voting on it that it would be self sufficient. It is costing us nearly $500K per year.

We are upset because less than 10 years later we have to spend money to replace non-waterproof drywall and a roof.

We are upset because a small percentage of this town uses it, yet we all pay dearly for it.

Mr. Hamilton, you may think you have fixed our pool, but it is far from fixed.
We have many issues that need to be addressed before we can even think of replaceing it with a bubble or permanent structure.

You were paid with our tax dollars, and we appreciate your incite here, but please don't tell us the pool is "fixed".

We all know that once a new cover goes up, something else will go wrong since it was so poorly designed and built.


Anonymous said...

Remember, every town building you enter was designed and built by the lowest bidder

The pool was low bidder. Mr Hamilton was low bidder. The trucks that plow our roads are low bidder. The bullets in officers guns are low bidder. The proposed west main st project is low bidder (can wait to see the mess ups there). The town heating contactor is low bid (Norton School boiler)

The only thing in town that is not low bid is salary.

Low bidder tends to streach their dollar as far as it will go. Ask yourself, "how is this guy going to be 15% less than the other guy and still feed his family?"

Answer - sub par material, unskilled labor, short cuts and unnoticable skips

Anonymous said...

Instead of hiring consultants like Mr Hamilton, we could have asked the farmers in town what we should do. Some of their structures are impressively huge and designed to control heat and humidity while opening to allow fresh air and sunlight. I guess these millionaires don't know what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

In a way the OpenAire structure is a greenhouse. What makes it different is aluminum structural pieces that holds insulated glass panels. The roof is made of polycarbonate, same stuff but thicker than what the greenhouse guys use. So you are correct, the greenhouse gys showed the way.

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