This article will explore the rising energy costs in running a pool, spa or sauna, the importance of energy efficient pool construction and the use of alternative, renewable energy for pool heating.
The rising cost of energy.
Energy efficiency is a topic that has become increasingly important across almost every aspect of our lives. Running and operating a swimming pool, spa or sauna is no exception.
It is also not simply a question of money. Even your wealthiest customers will feel a moral or social obligation to build their pool in an eco-friendly way and to run it with as low a carbon footprint as possible. In fact, energy efficiency and renewable energies can be powerful selling tools.
Energy Efficient (EE) pool construction.
You wouldn’t think of building a house today without including insulation in the build. A swimming pool is no exception. An in-ground pool actually heats up the soil that surrounds it if it’s built with no insulation. Different soil types will absorb different amounts of heat but all heat that goes into the ground is wasted energy and wasted money.
Including insulation in the build may well affect the construction costs but that money will be recouped throughout the pool’s entire life.
Pools can be insulated after they have been built but obviously the best practice is to build in an energy efficient way from the start.
Energy Efficient Pool Heating
The latest gas and oil condensing boilers, which comply with new building regulations, can save you between 20-25% on running costs when compared to a traditional boiler.
Heat pumps are cheaper to run than gas or oil boilers and are very reliable. They work on the same basic principles as a fridge by taking heat from one environment – either the outside air or the ground – and transferring it to another; in this case the pool water. Although heat pumps do use electricity, they multiply the energy efficiency of that power and so you use less energy to produce more heat.
Solar Thermal systems are increasingly popular. They can be installed either as the sole heat source or run in conjunction with another system to top up the heat and reduce energy consumption. Modern solar technology is much more efficient than it used to be and will produce energy even on days that are cloudy or overcast.
It’s also possible to improve an existing heating system by fitting a control system that makes the unit operate in a more efficient manner.
Any pool should have a cover to conserve the heat in the pool when the pool is not in use.
Pool pumps are now being made that are more energy efficient as well. The Badu Eco Touch pump has a permanent magnet motor and has been designed to reduce operating costs and improve filtration by reducing flow rate. It is ideally specified for pools from 30m3 (6,600 gallons) to 70m3 (15,400 gallons) in size. The pump will operate in different modes for night-time operation at low speed, or normal filtration or backwashing at high speed, and pay back its costs within just a couple of years.
Rules and regulations.
As energy conservation becomes an increasingly important topic, the field is becoming more and more controlled and regulated. Building regulations already take energy efficiency issues seriously and the field of alternative and renewable energies is coming increasingly under scrutiny.
If you are becoming involved in these areas then it may well be worth looking at MCS accreditation (Microgeneration Certification Scheme.). Many grant funded installations already insist that the contractor is registered under this scheme and so it may well become an industry standard.