By now we’ve all heard that Gateway’s lakes are going to cost the residents a lot of money to fix, but now it seems at least one of our lakes will actually save us money.

Scott Chambers with Geothermal Innovations, located at 6900 Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers, was in attendance at the July 23, 2015 meeting of the GSCDD Board of Supervisors and he explained that his company would like to install a geothermal pool heating system that could save over $30,000 per year in heating costs at the Gateway Commons Pool.

At present the pool uses a liquid propane heating system that is expected to cost $42,000 in the next year. What Geothermal Innovations would like to do is install a system that would pull water from a nearby lake, grab the heat energy that’s stored in the lake water, transfer that heat energy to the pool’s water, then return the lake water back in to the lake. (EDITOR’S NOTE: A correction was made to this paragraph.)

Chambers says his system can warm a pool the size of Gateway Commons Pool by about 1 degree per hour.

Apparently lake water has a natural warmth within it and using that heat energy would reduce our heating costs from the $42,000 per year for the propane system to just $7,000 per year to operate┬áthe geothermal system. In addition, Chambers also said there’s also a service contract of $1,000 per year.

Chambers mentioned that less than $20,000 would be spent on repairs over the 20-year life of the system. Most pool heaters only last 5 years and they also have repair issues as well, so the $20,000 (maximum) cost for parts and repairs does not seem like a barrier.

The geothermal system would cost slightly over $80,000 to purchase outright, or it can be leased for as little as $1285 per month.

Supervisor Rod Senior said that he was told a grant for up to 25% of the cost of the geothermal heater could be applied for since it was using renewable energy, however Chambers said that in his experience pools were deemed luxury items and not eligible for grants.

If the system is purchased, Chambers estimates that Gateway would make its money back (by not having to pay for propane) in 28 months. But even if the system is leased the GSCDD would still save nearly $20,000 per year over propane.

There seems to be no chance they’ll stick with propane knowing that this renewable energy technology is out there and the cost savings that can be realized.

As is their custom, the Supervisors decided not to make a decision right away. The Board members agreed to take two weeks to think about it and address the issue – and likely make a choice between leasing or buying – at the next GSCDD meeting on August 6, 2015.

For more information about Geothermal Innovations please visit

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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