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Increasing energy efficiency

DSCN0557By Connie Sue Centrella

Domestically and internationally, exhibitors at the winter pool and spa trade shows have embraced environmentally friendly technology. Worldwide trends toward energy conservation are pushing the development of technologies that meet a new ‘green’ standard for the pool industry.

During a recent visit to the Piscine 2010 show in France, it was apparent that eco-friendly products are gaining momentum internationally. Change is underway and the pool and spa industry must educate itself to promote and market these innovations to the consumer. No longer can we rest on old technologies.

This is even more important as the cost of energy continues to rise. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), electricity prices were expected to increase 4.7 per cent in total annual consumption during 2010, with little change to come in 2011. At the same time, Canadian provinces are initiating Heat Smart plans designed to encourage consumers to retrofit their homes for energy-efficiency incentives. The task for pool and spa professionals throughout North America will be to offer new technologies, to the swimming consumer that are affordable and deliver a payback in energy savings over a reasonable period of time, like those outlined below.

Filtration and circulation

The vast majority of pump and filter manufacturers have made great strides, meeting new energy-efficiency standards implemented by regulatory agencies. Dual- and multi-speed pumps are mandated over 1.0 total horsepower in many U.S. states. Because of these changes, time clocks and controllers are being adapted to regulate time on high speed, and then default back to low speed after a set number of hours. To lower the total dynamic head (TDH), larger filters are being specified and/or suggested. To eliminate friction losses, larger pipe diameters are being installed along with larger multi-port values.

Hydraulics is also a key factor; some technologies now require lower velocities. Some say using these hydraulic factors to lower resistance is a new approach; actually, the new part of this equation is that pool and spa professionals are just beginning to engage in understanding the science of hydraulics and are adapting their construction and renovation procedures accordingly.

Automation

A big emphasis is now being placed on automation, which improves efficiency and eases use. All facets of pool equipment—from pumps to filters to lighting—can be now be customized to meet an individual consumer’s needs. Giving the pump room a ‘voice’ by relaying efficiency messages to mobile phones has become an attractive development for technology-savvy professionals and consumers.

Lighting

A major inroad moving pool lighting to light-emitting diode (LED) technology was apparent at recent trade shows. Lighting is not only becoming an attractive architectural design element, but also a necessary, energy-efficient way to provide safety in and around the pool area. A traditional 500-watt halogen bulb can now be replaced with a 70-watt LED light and achieve the same level of illumination. Light-emitting diodes for swimming pool applications also have the ability to change colours, as well as generate lower watt hour/cost while still achieving the same bright light produced by traditional fixtures.

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