April 23, 2020| Lester Yat
Ah, summer! At the first hint of warm weather, winter-weary condominium residents start thinking about that popular amenity, the swimming pool.
But while residents are dreaming about a cooling dip after work or some morning laps to stay in shape, condo boards and managers are thinking about the costs associated with keeping the pool clean, safe and within the budget. Fortunately, taking a “green” approach to the community swimming pool can help with all those goals.
Spring is a great time to launch the “greening” of your pool. Consider just a few of the ways that this precious (and costly) resource can be wasted during normal pool operations.
But don’t stop there! Water conservation is a great step, but it’s just the beginning.
If your pool is heated, consider lowering the temperature, especially when the pool isn’t in use — a move that will not only lower energy use and heating bills, but reduce evaporation, too. Most pools are kept at a temperature of 78 degrees to 82 degrees; raising it by a single degree can cause an increase of 10 percent or more in energy costs. And if your pool has been around for years, it may be time to upgrade the equipment. New high-efficiency pool heaters, motors and electric heat pumps can save energy and cut your utility bill at the same time.
Want to go a step further? How about installing a solar-powered heating system? The sun’s energy is free, abundant, and, of course, environmentally friendly. According to the Department of Energy, solar heating systems have a low operating cost but can raise the water temperature in a pool by 10 to 20 degrees.
While the sun does a great job of warming that water, it also speeds up the dissipation of the chemicals used to sanitize the pool. A tip from the professionals: add that sanitizer in the evening, when there’s less evaporation going on, and you’ll lower chemical usage. If your system adds sanitizer automatically, schedule the pump to run at night, during off-peak energy hours.
And speaking of pumps, is yours running too much? Running the pump only as long as needed will save energy, not to mention wear and tear on the equipment. If it’s time to update that equipment, a variable speed “smart pump” that allows water to be circulated at a lower rate can save energy and money.
Go ahead — take the plunge. But with a little planning, you can make that swimming pool a little kinder to the environment while providing a great summertime oasis.