Saving on Energy Costs With an Outdoor Swimming Pool
For those with an outdoor swimming pool, energy management is mainly about saving money on utilities. But it’s also about personal responsibility. Either way, it requires a consistent and ongoing commitment to achieve results. As well, it requires recognition that energy conservation combines BOTH economic AND environmental impacts. The best is to be motivated by all of the above, in an effort to adopt energy saving habits and patterns that will produce quantifiable results.
Measuring results means assessing performance levels on a short-term basis and a long-term basis. It starts with keeping accurate records of energy use and utility costs. It’s also a good idea to have a “benchmark” for comparison purposes – perhaps some guidelines from the pool manufacturer or the local utility company. Once a “baseline” is established, energy usage is quite easy to compare.
In order to ensure positive change, and hopefully generate savings, it’s very important to set some realistic goals. Establish the top priorities for conserving energy; set some actual “number” goals; and make sure that everyone in the household is on board with the new plan. Needless to say, without a concerted “team” approach, it will be more difficult to achieve the desired outcomes.
Setting up an action plan is the next step. A good idea is to define a “top ten” list of things to do to conserve energy. As well, the pool company (or manufacturer) may have some verified methods of saving energy, and these would be valuable. Once again, implementation is critical – even a superb “top ten” list will have little value, unless everyone is following, and making an effort to implement.
In some cases, it may be necessary to install upgraded equipment that may be more energy efficient than before. This will depend on budget constraints, and may have cost/benefit impacts that need consideration. As for maintenance, most pool contractors agree that a well-maintained pool is one that uses energy more efficiently. This will involve a personal commitment to consistency.
Many pool owners don’t realize how natural evaporation can affect energy usage. The variances between water temperature and air temperature directly affects the evaporation rate of swimming pool water. To that end, a good swimming pool cover can diminish (and even eliminate) most of the evaporation, and can also contribute to maintaining the pool temperature.
Heating the pool water is one of the most important considerations relative to energy consumption. Choosing between electric heat pumps, gas-fired boilers, or solar systems can make a big difference overall. And beyond being conservative with energy usage, high-efficiency equipment will naturally deliver better cost-efficiencies, which in turn will result in cost savings.
Wherever possible, heating a swimming pool with solar energy is the ideal. It may not necessarily alleviate the need for a conventional heater, but it will certainly make a positive contribution. And where geography permits – like regions with plenty of sun – the more solar energy the better. Again, this may require additional investment, and will involve additional assessment.