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Kaplan Aquatic Center: designing a green project

Variable-frequency drives (VFDs)

The variable-frequency drive (VFD) used in the project was designed specifically to save energy and lower operating costs by increasing pump performance, which resulted in reducing nearly 60 per cent of its electricity usage. The product allows the system to ramp up to full speed during the day when the pool reaches its peak bather loads. At night, when the pool is not in use, the drive slows down the pump to continue filtration. The VFD units have a minimal payback time as they optimize energy automatically, and also offer a built-in display to show the remaining time until the drive pays for itself. The units eliminate spikes to lower energy consumption and allow the pump motors to run smoothly; this reduces any wear and tear associated with starting and stopping the equipment and ensures longevity.

Sand filters

Designing the pump room right below the pool allows water to flow downward using gravity rather than power.
Designing the pump room right below the pool allows water to flow downward using gravity rather than power.

In addition to the VFDs, two sand-filter systems were installed at the facility. The large pool has a system comprising three tanks, while the leisure pool has a separate two-tank system. These tanks have an integrated automatic backwash control system that makes them highly energy efficient. The filters are easy to maintain because they have a modular design that allows for influent and effluent placement to meet any design requirement. The units, which occupy only one-fourth of the pump room, are an ideal choice for the tight space. The viewport on the front allows for better monitoring and maintenance as these filters provide a quick, visual observation of the sand bed during filtration. This reduces the facility’s energy usage as dirty filters can nearly double the pump’s electricity consumption.

LED lighting

Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is an essential constituent of any eco-friendly project. The facility installed specific LEDs that use 89 per cent less electricity when compared to incandescent and halogen pool lights. Not only does the technology significantly lower electrical bills, it also requires less maintenance as the bulbs need to be changed less frequently, which adds to additional savings for the aquatic facility.

Mike Fowler is a commercial sales manager for Pentair in Sanford, N.C. He has been with the company since 1992, starting his career in the technical services department at Purex Pool Products. Fowler has held many managerial roles within the company, including marketing, trade show manager, and account manager. He can be reached via e-mail at

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