One perk of owning a pool is the chance to relax outdoors and get closer to nature. But maintaining that private oasis can have an impact on the environment. A 2008 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council found that pool owners could reduce carbon emissions by 3 million tons if every residential pool consumed just one-third less energy. And while you’re helping save the planet, you can save on utility bills, too.
There are several options for a more energy-efficient and cost-effective pool:
- Switch to a Variable-Speed Pool Pump
If you make just one upgrade start with your pump. Single-speed pumps drain the most energy because they’re made unnecessarily powerful. Variable-speed pumps can be dialed down to run longer, slower and more efficiently.
- Purchase an Energy-Efficient Heater or Heat Pump
New gas- or solar-powered heaters have higher efficiency ratings and lower operating costs than older models. Heat pumps actually draw warmth from the air, recycling natural summer heat back into your pool.
- Cover Your Pool When It’s Not in Use
Leaving your pool uncovered causes water to be wasted through evaporation, which takes most of your pool’s heat with it. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a pool cover alone can save 50 to 70 percent in heating costs.
- Choose Cartridge Filters Over Sand Filters
Manually cleaning cartridge filters typically uses less water than backwashing sand filters.
- Add an Automated Control System
Automated systems operate everything from pumps and heaters to pool sweeps and lighting. Besides offering convenience, they reduce waste and can be programmed to run during off-peak hours when utility rates are cheapest. Options range from simple time clocks to Internet-based systems you can monitor and control away from home.
- Replace Your Pool Lights with LEDs
LED lights consume 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times as long. And because LEDs distribute light more evenly, they lend the perfect poolside ambience.
Incentives for Energy-Efficient Pools
Many utilities and state governments offer incentives to pool owners who incorporate energy-efficient upgrades. Check with your local utility company to find out what incentives it may offer.