There are millions of pools all over the world, with more than 8.5 million of them installed in the US alone and over 200,000 new pools being built every year. These pools require a lot, and especially so in terms of the energy they consume or required to both power and maintain them. Unfortunately, much of the energy used is wasted, which is a detriment to the pool owners, the pool itself and the environment in general. This article will describe energy-efficient pools and simple ways to make a pool more energy-efficient
When many people think of summer fun, the thought often turns to a nice dip in the pool or a cooling swim when things get too hot. The pool is not only a great family bonding tool but also an entertainer and a consistent source of fun. Many people who own pools will complain that the amount of money they spend on powering and maintaining their pools often outweighs the pros. However, there are many ways that you can effectively manage and maintain an energy-efficient pool in order to save you both the time and money you need in different parts of your life.
As the name suggests, an energy-efficient pool is a pool that saves up on energy. Heating a swimming pool consumes a lot of energy and adds up to high heating and electricity bills. Improving a pool’s heating and energy efficiency requires several steps, which in turn makes the pool energy-efficient. In doing so, it saves up on some of the equipment used, like the heater, reducing its heating costs and overall, saving the environment
An energy-efficient pool is also a great way to contribute towards a more healthy and active environment, for not only yourself but also your children and the generations to come. It’s easy, simple and often overlooked – but you can be managing and maintaining an energy-efficient pool in no time at all.
Why Create an Energy-Efficient Pool?
1. It reduces the amount of energy required: Optimizing your pool so that it becomes more energy-efficient means you will be reducing the amounts of energy required to heat it. This means less heat and less burden on your electricity when heating your pool.
2. It saves on your electricity bills: An energy-efficient pool saves up on your electricity bills as you will not have to consistently power or heat the pool. Additionally, there can be better alternatives such as solar heating, meaning you forego all your previous electricity expenditure. Electricity or an alternative like gas will only be used if solar power is unavailable, primarily because of the weather or season.
3. It saves the environment: When you consistently heat your pool using conventional methods, you will either be releasing harmful gases to the environment or be contributing towards its destruction by depleting non-renewable resources. An energy-efficient pool will use alternative sources of heat and preserve the heat so that your swimming needs do not come at the expense of the environment. For instance, consistently heating a pool, means more heat is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
4. It contributes to sustainable swimming: One might beg to ask how does swimming affects the environment? Well, it might not be direct, but for one to comfortably swim, it might affect the environment, by among others, pumping too much heat into the environment. An energy-efficient pool ensures future generations will get a chance to enjoy swimming just as much as present generations.
5. It promotes the creation of new technologies: Where more people are moving towards more energy-efficient appliances and practices, new technologies are brought up, which ensure a better future, as well as a fun application of current products. An energy-efficient pool will lead to more energy-conscious pools, filters, pumps and overall experiences by all. It will also mean the elimination of appliances and technologies that might either be harmful to the environment or might not be of any use anymore.
15 Simple Ways to Make Your Pool More Energy-Efficient
1. Employ the use of solar technology
Harness the power of the sun by using solar heaters and solar covers, also known as solar blankets. They absorb thermal energy from the sun to warm the pool’s water. The heaters use energy-collecting panels that heat the pool during the day, and the solar covers keep the pool warm at night by trapping the sun’s rays with their bubble wrap-like air pockets.
Additionally, solar covers reduce heating costs by between 50% and 70% according to the US Department of Energy. The only disappointment with solar heating is if the seasons make it impossible for it to heat. however, it is an energy-efficient alternative that does not harm the environment.
2. Prevent water evaporation
The same US Department of Energy found that water evaporation is the single largest source of energy overconsumption when it comes to water pools. Between 70% and 95% of a pool’s heat loss occurs through surface evaporation in both outdoor and indoor pools. For each gallon of evaporating water, it takes with it over 8,500 British Thermal Units (BTUs) and about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week. Preventing water evaporation will go a long way in making your pool more energy-efficient
3. Update your pool’s lighting
Over the last several years, LED lighting has become common, and it saves about 80% over incandescent lights and lasts three times as long. It is efficient and yields more, especially when used in and out of the pool. Using such lighting vastly reduces energy consumption in comparison to conventional bulbs and lamps and can last up to 30,000 hours or more, meaning fewer replacement costs and disposal
4. Your filtration system
The more debris you have in your pool drains, the harder your pump and filter will have to work to move it through the system, therefore, using more energy. Regularly cleaning the pool, ensures the system runs efficiently.
Additionally, modernize your filtration system since contemporary filters require less frequent backwashing, reducing the need to refill the pool after a backwash. This in turn lowers the demand for the pool’s heater. Less frequent backwashing also extends the filtration system’s lifespan
5. Use efficient pumps, heaters and filters
Upgrade to a variable speed pool pump, to make the pool energy-efficient. This is because it helps slow down the speed the pump motor must work, making the pump not only eco-friendlier but also much quieter.
Also, do not overmatch your pool’s BTU because in doing so, it will make a big enough filter and pump work extra harder, consuming more energy, having a shorter lifespan, draining your pockets and damaging more than just the environment.
6. Use automatic pool cleaners
If your pool has an automatic pool sweep, operate it for between three to four hours daily during the summer and between two to three hours in the winter. Start the pool sweep 15 minutes or more after the filter pump is running and stop it 15 or more minutes before the filter pump stops. On unusually dusty days, increase cleaning time by half-hour increments until the pool is clean. Use a wall brush and leaf skimmer frequently to help the cleaner along. Automating your pool operations can help lower and optimize your energy use.
7. Install windbreakers
Windbreakers are essential especially for outdoor swimming pools, making their owners and operators need them. A mere 7mph wind on the swimming pool’s surface can increase energy consumption by up to 300%. Windbreakers ought to be tall enough and close enough to the pool, limiting air turbulence over the surface of the pool.
A wall, solid fence, screen or fence with plant cover can also do the trick, helping lower the amount of heat lost and in turn, lowering the cost of energy. It also helps decrease the evaporation rates especially for water that you have already heated
8. Install an automatic pool cover
An automatic pool cover makes the pool significantly safer, as well as prevents loss of heat and evaporation, even better than a windbreaker. In reducing evaporation levels from the pool’s surface, pool covers reduce heat loss within the pool and lower the demand on the heating system
9. Pick the right finish for your pool
A pool’s finish also helps in saving energy. Darker colored pool finishes absorb the sun’s rays and energy, helping heat the pool. Not everyone wants a dark finish but for those who are big on conserving energy as well as protecting the environment, choose such a finish for the pool
10. Use pool timers
Automatic pools may not save you all the money directly but can make it easier to manage the pump as well as filter usage by setting a schedule. Pool timers turn off the power going to the filter system at set or specific intervals and will turn back on later, making it easier to manage the pool as well as the energy powered there.
11. Install a variable-speed pool pump
There are ENERGY STAR-certified pumps that can save you up to $2,800 over single-speed pumps over their lifetime, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They eventually pay for themselves in less than 2 years and run quieter and prolong the life of your pool’s filtering system.
These variable-speed pumps also help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Go for these energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-certified pumps over the conventional pumps and make your pool better, for you and the environment.
12. Use advanced heating technology
Utilize the latest technology to make your pool that much more efficient. In addition to the LED lighting and solar power mentioned above, use the latest materials and technologies to make the pool more efficient. Utilize the concept of deep heating where systems heat the pool from the bottom up.
Also, optimize the pool’s plumbing by eliminating pipes that are too narrow or plumbing runs that include too many tight turns. These are designed into a pool’s core system and cause the pump to work much harder than it has to.
13. Maintain your cleaning systems
The cleaning system should be in charge of cleaning the pool. However, by this point, it means you clean the cleaning system as well. Yes, even your cleaning system requires cleaning once in a while. Consider maintenance plans offered by pool builders or installers, who can check on your system, ensuring it works properly. A happy and clean cleaning system makes for a happy and clean swimming experience.
The poolside is also important and making some changes to your poolside could prove effective in making your pool energy-efficient. Most people using the pool hall tend to be wet and as such, the poolside temperatures should be adjusted accordingly. To do so, redirect any grilles and jets near the poolside to avoid any direct airflow from the ventilation system.
Discourage yourself and your staff from opening doors and windows as they create draughts. Also, discourage them from opening emergency escape doors for their own personal comfort. Use overhead fans for localized cooling, if required, and use controls to avoid increasing air movement at the pool surface or around wet bathers.
15. Become a responsible pool owner, operator or user
The buck also stops with you, the pool owner, user or operator. If you use the pool only on weekends, reduce your heater or heat pump thermostat settings by 8-10º during the week. When leaving for vacation for a long period, like a week, unless freezing temperatures are expected, switch off the pool’s heater or heat pump. Cover the pool before you leave or when it is not in use, to reduce the amount of debris that collects on the pool, that will eventually clog the drain and force the pump to work harder.