January 21, 2010, Myrtle Beach, SC Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C. is testing its first solar water heated bathhouse as part of its successful iCare Program. One Apricus solar panel has been mounted to the roof of an existing bathhouse to solar heat the water for 12 shower stalls and the sinks.

“Conceptually this is a great idea,” explains Lance Thompson, vice president and general manager. “With the amount of sun we get in Myrtle Beach, it seems like a ‘no-brainer.’ However, we are starting with one bathhouse as a pilot project to monitor the impact of the solar panel.”

Although substantial federal rebates are available to help underwrite the cost of the pilot project, future investments in solar bathhouses will be determined by the impact the solar power has on Ocean Lakes Family Campground’s energy costs (electric and gas). Ultimately, the impact must help offset the cost of the equipment and prove that it does enough to help conserve energy and further reduce the campground’s carbon footprint.

“The iCare Program’s slogan is ‘Awareness & Action Count’,” according to Thompson. “We want to be good stewards and do the right thing with regard to the environment, as well as in operating a successful business that has had a proven impact on both the Grand Strand and South Carolina’s economy.”

Ocean Lakes Family Campground was awarded the prestigious “2006 Governor’s Cup” for its impact on the state of South Carolina.

An interesting “side effect” of the solar heated water is improved customer service and water conservation.In the past, certain shower stalls had hot water much faster than other stalls. As the solar panel heats the water to 240 degrees, the water will be re-circulated through the system to cool it to the proper temperature for the bathers. The result will be a constant temperature providing “instant” hot water, making for a happier shower experience.Â

If the solar heated water project proves successful, Ocean Lakes plans to install more solar panels into its laundry operations, snack bars, and pools as part of its iCare Program.

The campground was awarded the 2009-2010 “Plan-It Green Award” by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) in November for its iCare Program aimed at helping reduce the environmental impact of the campground and its guests. Ocean Lakes introduced its iCare Progam in August 2008, the program grew during 2009 to educate guests about the impact of pet pollution, litter and recycling. It also took the “Plan-It Green” pledge with ARVC to continue to find ways to operate responsibly.

About Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States. Located in Myrtle Beach, S.C., it has received numerous awards for excellence. It is the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” and has received that honor from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) four times. In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,447 sites”  893 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a division of The Jackson Companies, a family-owned enterprise that includes Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Properties, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center, and the master-planned development SayeBrook.

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