Being an environmentally friendly consumer has become increasingly important. And, building a more eco-friendly pool is easier than ever before. There are products available that result in the consumption of less energy, products that sanitize the water in swimming pools in a more environmentally sensitive manner, products that allow the use of less water in the maintenance of their pools and many other options that can help you, the consumer, to be a more environmentally sensitive pool owner.
Building an Eco-Friendly Pool
The pump moves water through the filter, heater or heat pump, water features, and plumbing. It can also power in-floor cleaning systems and automatic cleaners. A pool pump should circulate all pool water at least once a day. Referred to as turnover, this means all the water in the pool should be run through the filter daily. And efficiency is what counts. Greater efficiency means lower utility costs. The key to pump efficiency lies deep in the heart of the pump’s design. The secret is to minimize turbulence as water passes through the pump. Less turbulence means less energy and less noise.
The latest innovation in pool pumps is variable speed technology. While more costly than standard pool pumps, you gain dramatic energy cost savings potential. Variable speed pumps can be far more efficient than 1 or 2 speed pumps. Also remember that when it comes to filter/circulation pumps - bigger horsepower pumps are not necessarily better. It really is all about water flow. Running a filtration pump at a slower more energy efficient speed for a longer period of time can lead to significant savings on your electric bill. When you move the water more slowly and with less pressure pumps tend to operate quieter with less wear and tear on your entire circulation system.
Your pool filter should be sized to allow adequate daily turnover. More efficient water flow through the filter may allow the use of smaller pumps or lower pump speeds to minimize energy use. Cartridge filters are currently considered the most ecofriendly filter media available. Rinsing cartridges uses less water compared to backwashing. When pool owners can rinse the cartridges rather than backwash a sand or DE (diatomaceous earth) filter, they reduce water use by hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons per year.
In-floor Cleaning Systems greatly enhance the circulation of the water in a pool and a complete system is capable of keeping a pool about 99% clean; including the floor, steps, benches, walls, spa, etc. The “mixing” action created by the cleaning jets result in a decreased turnover time, a reduction in the amount of chemicals needed to maintain the pools water chemistry, and a tremendous potential savings in heating costs (when applicable).
Even without a heater an in-floor system will keep a pool warmer and at a more consistent temperature. This is due to the passive solar heating provided by dispersing the warmer surface water throughout the pool via the action of the cleaning jets.
Chlorine has, for many years, been the standard for sanitizing swimming pool water. Store bought chlorine comes from a manufacturing facility. Manufacturing facilities use up lots of resources and energy to operate and there is energy consumed in the transportation of the product from the factory to various distribution points. There are some excellent, more ecofriendly alternatives available. The two primary solutions available today are:
Ozone technology for swimming pools has been available for many years. Ozone has also been in use in Europe since the 1890’s for drinking water purification. Ozone, although a disinfectant (sanitizer) and oxidizer, it is normally referred to as the primary oxidizer and alternative sanitizer when referring to its use in swimming pools in the United States.
SALT CHLORINE GENERATORS (Salt – Water Pools)
A Salt-Chlorine generator is based on an electrolysis process during which Sodium Chloride (salt) is converted to Sodium Chlorine by passing across metal plates enclosed in a chamber (referred to as “salt cell”) which is installed in-line on swimming pool plumbing. These metal plates are energized by a low electrical current which causes the electrolysis process of ion exchange of chloride to chlorine.
Hopefully this brief summary has provided you with some useful information on how to make the pool you build more eco-friendly. Lifetime Pools welcome the opportunity to discuss this in more detail with and share other “green” ideas with you. Let us know when you are ready to start planning your backyard dream!