In part 1 we explored the basics of building a green swimming pool. Things like: Variable Speed Pumps, Low-restriction plumbing systems, LED lighting, and Chemical monitoring and regulation.
Here in part 2 we will explore some of the additional things that can also be considered when building a Green Pool.
Solar options: (the ultimate Green improvement)
One thing that should be looked at on a project is the orientation and shape of the roof structures available on-site. If an appropriate roofline is available then adding solar thermal panels can be explored. This will extend the swimming season considerably, as well as significantly reducing the demands on the pool heater.
Photo Voltaic (PV) electric generating systems can also be explored. These systems can be used offset the electrical consumption of just the pool itself, or can be sized to generate enough electricity to power the entire home as well.
Recent changes in Washington have significantly improved the tax benefits of installing these systems, offsetting some of the costs involved, be sure to check with a local Solar Contractor for further details. It may be surprising just how affordable these systems have become.
Pool Covers: (Inexpensive Green option)
Pool covers come in different varieties: Automatic Safety Covers, and simple floating bubble covers (also called solar blankets).
Both covers have similar Green impacts on the swimming pool environment: They significantly reduce the evaporation from the pool itself, decreasing a pools demand for our precious water resources. Also the cover acts as a blanket for the pool at night. At night the temperatures often drop below that of the pool, causing the pool water to cool off. Covers reduce this overnight heat loss, which results in reducing the demands on the pool heater to maintain a comfortable swimming temperature for the bathers.
By far the least expensive Green upgrade that can be installed on any pool is the simple floating solar blanket. These generally only cost a couple hundred dollars (or less) and as discussed above, significantly reduce water usage, plus helping maintain the water at a more comfortable temperature.
Automatic Safety Covers offer the same Green benefits as the simple floating solar blanket, but also have the added benefit of creating a safety barrier for small children, or animals; protecting them from unauthorized or unwanted access to the swimming pool.
Ozone is a gas that is found in the upper atmosphere here on Earth. We are all familiar with the “hole in the ozone layer” which has been well publicized in the news media. Ozone also occurs in nature during lightning storms.
Ozone is a very powerful oxidizer, much stronger than the traditional oxidizers (chlorine and bromine) used in swimming pools. Ozone is currently utilized within the bottled water industry to purify their water for consumer consumption. In a pool with an appropriate sized ozone system, the result is a bottled water quality swimming environment. With a large enough system it is possible to reduced the demand for chlorine by 90% – 95%. And since the ozone is generated onsite, the overall Carbon Footprint is dramatically reduced with this configuration. These systems yield bottled water quality water that is pristine, and crystal clear all the time. If the budget allows for one of these systems, the end result is truly amazing.
Technology exists which will allow the home’s air conditioning system to transfer the heat it generates into the swimming pool. This synergy allows both systems to perform more efficiently. The AC system is cooled by the pool water, and the pool water is warmed by utilizing heat that would normally just be lost into the atmosphere.
Heat Pumps can be utilized as well. These systems use electricity rather than gas (natural or propane) to heat the pool water. These systems should only be considered Green when they are combined with an appropriately sized on-site PV electrical generation to offset the increased electrical demand these systems instill.