Innovative, energy-wise equipment requires new learning. The ability to design an energy-efficient pool environment calls for additional training in hydraulics and electricity. Knowing the science of hydraulics and electricity (total dynamic head [TDH] and Ohm’s law) is mandatory with today’s energy-efficient technologies. Knowledge is required to get smart; therefore, going ‘green’ requires pool professionals to change their long-standing guesses as to the right pump and filter applications.
Calculating TDH is the only method to achieve maximum flow with smaller pump sizes. The technology behind VSPs requires the study of hydraulics and electricity. Calculating the amps, watts, and volts of each proposed pump is the only way to explain what the payback on new equipment will be and what it means to the customer. Retailers must become knowledgeable about all aspects of any new equipment they are promoting to the customer. For example, heat pumps and solar panels demand certain flow rates; therefore, the ability to install an appropriately sized system takes new education.
Consumers are looking for payback, i.e., the amount of time it will take to recover their investment in new equipment through energy savings. They are motivated to upgrade to greener products, but only if they can see the cost savings in addition to the environmental benefits. Each industry professional should be prepared to have that understanding and be able to effectively communicate.
Creativity is free and becoming more creative will enhance the bottom line. Surviving and rebounding from the economic crises takes a strong commitment to creativity. Today’s marketing strategies demand new ideas and creative ways of delivering the ‘green’ message to the consumer. For instance, examining how the company’s web marketing and direct mail programs relate to the consumer are important steps to helping them understand the company’s commitment to environmental consciousness.
This is a great time for innovation. Rethink how the company is delivering its products and embrace ideas such as solar and geothermal as alternative methods of heating. The consumer will be attracted to those pool professionals who are making innovative moves. Systematize any innovation by watching for trends in the marketplace and wrap them into the marketing program.
Changes in behaviour are another freebie as this only takes a little bit of effort. Training employees on the benefits of energy-efficient equipment will give them a sense of purpose and a new involvement in the company. Engaging employees in steps to improve energy performance and involving them in writing a sustainability policy are all ways to bring team members into the effort. Employees are motivated for change they are involved in such as energy budget items where they can see decreases in expenditures and increases in energy efficiencies partly due to their efforts.
A profitable plan to achieve a healthy green revolution for the aquatics industry takes everyone’s involvement and commitment. From manufacturer to distributor to retail store to service, renovation and construction—everyone must join together to build a solid, energy-efficient, sustainable future. Each link in the chain influences the others; ‘greening’ together is the industry’s golden opportunity for a sustainable environment and a brighter future.
Connie Gibson Centrella, MBA, is a professor and program director for the online Aquatic Engineering Degree Program at Keiser University eCampus. She is also the director of education for Team Horner as well as a sustainability officer, having been certified in the principles of ‘green’ and sustainable business practices. Centrella, an industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience in the aquatics field, is a five-time recipient of the Evelyn C. Keiser Teaching Excellence Award ‘Instructor of Distinction.’ She is also a former pool builder with extensive knowledge in pool construction, equipment installation and manufacturing, and a National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) certified pool/spa operator instructor, having trained more than 1,850 pool service technicians, retailers and instructors worldwide in the past 10 years.