Cut Swimming Pools Energy Consumption by 65 Percent

by Pool Builders on 03-16-2009 in Articles

Swimming pools have been around since Roman times, however it was only in the 1960s that they began to appear in domestic back yards. Now every year there are tens of thousands of swimming pools installed every year around the world and is a multi billion dollar industry.

Swimming pools are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are also a great source of recreation and enjoyment, while providing many health benefits. Domestic swimming pools do have one small draw back - its energy consumption, not only in the construction of the swimming pool, but also in its ongoing maintenance.

I am the last person to advocate that the use of energy is wrong, without it we would still be living in caves and civilisation would not have progressed, however as with all products, new technology and thinking can help reduce the environmental impact and ongoing running costs.

Your choice of pool construction. The are the common forms of swimming pool construction, fibreglass, vinyl lined plastic or steel and concrete. There is no right or wrong decision on the construction type, budget or construction time is usually the most important option. The use of concrete is one of the worlds oldest construction methods, however is often the more expensive option. The overall construction is generally low in its environmental impact aside from the extraction of the concrete. Fibreglass - this is the fastest growing sector of the pool indusrty, fueled partly by the quick installation time, and slightly lower purchase price. They are however made from toxic resins (in their raw form, there is no risk from a finished pool), and their construction does have some waste product. Vinyl lined - these pools are often in the cheapest end of the market and can usually be installed above or below ground. Plastic support panels and vinyl liners both require oil based products for their manufacture.

Your pools filtration system. The heart and lungs of your pool, the filtration system removes impurities from the water keeping it clean and healthy, this is also where the main ongoing energy costs come from. In order to move the water from the pool, through the filter and back to the pool a pump with an electric motor is required. Ideally the pump should be sized correctly to the pool and be capable of passing the pools entire volume of water through the filter twice every day. A common selling technique for years by pool builders has been to upsize the owners pump, to help provide better suction for vacuuming and cleaning. However this causes an increase in the operating costs, as larger motors cost more to run, and often causes excessive pressure on the filter which has not been upsized to meet the additional water flow. Multispeed pumps are growing in popularity, however these are only practical in countries where 60Hz power supply is available, with 50Hz power, the reduction in flow due to the change in speed is usually not enough to effectively run the pools surface skimmers, automatic pool cleaners, or heating systems. New BLDC motor technology is now entering the market allowing infinitly adjustable speed selection, this allows 50Hz power markets to reduce the speed and therefore the energy consumption of their pumps while not sacrificing performance of their other pool components, however the pools hydraulic design has to be correct with a minimum of 2" or 50mm pipe to achieve the correct water flow rates, and is often not suitable for upgrades of existing pool equipment. like your kidneys, the pools filter removes impurities from the swimming pools water, and consists of a cartridge element or a pressure vessel with a media bed for the water to pass through. The one downside to media bed filtration is that they require frequent flushing or backwashing to remove impurities. On an average sized swimming pool (60,000L or 15,000 gallons) this can waste the volume of the pool every year. Cartidge filters are becoming more acceptable for swimming pools, with many manufacturers building large capacity units requiring only yearly cleaning.

The combination of a multispeed, or energy efficient pool pump can significatly reduce a swimming pools power consumption by over 65%, while a correctly sized pump and filter can save up to 25% of the ongoing running costs. Cartridge filters can reduce water waste by up to 99% as the paper filter elements do not require backwashing and regular flushing. This also allows the user more time to enjoy their pool while spending less time maintaining it.

If 100,000 swimming pools made the change to more energy efficient filtration systems, global demand for electricity would be reduced by 102,000MW (mega watts) per year - or the equivalent of 102 one thousand megawatt coal burning or nuclear power plants

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