Covering a pool when it is not in use is the single most effective means of reducing pool heating costs. According to the Department of Energy, almost three-quarters of the heat lost by a pool is due to evaporation. By minimizing evaporation, pool covers significantly reduce heating needs and save energy, often by 50% to 70%. Minimizing evaporation also reduces the amount of make-up water by 30% to 50%. In addition, pool covers keep contaminants and debris out of the water, lowering the pool’s chemical consumption by 35% to 60% and reducing the filtration system’s energy consumption. Automatic pool covers make it especially easy to be environmentally conscious.
Buy automatic timers for both your pool heater and pump. This will allow you to run them in several short cycles during the day, which is more effective than running them once continuously for several hours a day.
You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by installing a solar pool heater. They’re cost competitive with both gas and heat pump pool heaters, and they have very low annual operating costs. With no fuel consumed and no pollutants produced, solar energy is one of the greenest ways to heat your pool.
DE (diatomaceous earth) filters are one of the most effective means for purifying pool water. Unlike other methods, DE filtration can remove particles as small as 5 microns. With fewer contaminants in your pool, you can be environmentally responsible by using less chlorine. The incredible efficiency of these filters allows for the use of smaller pumps or lower pump speeds to minimize energy use. And instead of using a “backwash system,” manual rinsing of DE filters can save hundreds of gallons of water per year.
Variable Speed Pumps
Pool owners are often unaware that a standard single-speed pool pump can use more electricity to run than any appliance in their home. Variable-speed pumps can be adjusted to provide just the right amount of water flow for your pool, with a staggering savings of up to 90% in energy use. The IntelliFlo pump from Pentair can save over $400/year on a moderately-sized (15,000 sq-ft) pool used 6 months out of the year.
Use their calculator to determine you own savings. Over the lifetime of your pool, a variable speed pump will pay for itself several times over.
Landscaping with native plants and shrubs can create a natural windbreak around your pool. This windbreak can prevent breezes from reaching your pool and keep hot, dry air from sucking away moisture. It also makes the pool a more attractive and enjoyable place to relax.
Another green heating option is geothermal, which uses heat from the ground to warm the pool. In Missouri’s climate, a geothermal heating system can be over 20% more cost-effective than a natural gas system over the lifetime of the pool.
Many eco-conscious consumers are choosing permeable/pervious surfaces for the decking and paving around their pools. Pervious materials allow water to filtrate through the surface and down into the ground beneath. Unlike other paving materials—in which the water hits the surface then flows to public drainage systems—water is absorbed into the earth instead of flooding and contaminating our waterways. Allowing water to soak into the soil helps prevent erosion, flash floods, and water table depletion. In particular, pervious materials protect against the pollution of rivers, lakes, and coastal waters caused by rainwater otherwise rushing across impervious surfaces, picking up everything from oil and grease spills to de-icing salts and chemical fertilizers.