Your Swimming Pool Carbon Footprint

 
by John Galcius, June 10, 2009
 
Your Swimming Pool Carbon Footprint

My pool, an energy hog?  I hardly ever hear those words used together. Because a true standard hasn’t really been set yet. National Green Building Standard does not address swimming pools, so there is not much to go by. As a matter of fact, I found out today, that an environmentally labeled “Green Home” can have a 35,000 gallon swimming pool in the backyard, a two horsepower pump running 24 hours per day, and you could still classify the home as “Green”.
So, we have to “trail blaze”, so to speak. Swimming pools have a reputation for being water, electricity and in some cases, fossil  fuel hogs. And that might not be far from the truth. In homes with backyard pools, more electricity is used to power the pool pump than anything else except A/C or heating system. In fact, the average California residential pool uses enough electricity during the summer to power an average home for three months.
The typical backyard swimming pool holds 16,000 to 20,000 gallons of water. Pool evaporation amounts to 3 to 7 feet of water per year. For a 15 by 30 foot pool, the range is 10,000 to 23,000 gallons per year for evaporation, plus about 25% to account for splashing. If the pool is filled once a year, it requires about 38,000 gallons of water every year.
Is your pool heated with a gas pool heater? The low efficiency of gas heaters result in a high cost of operation. $1.00 worth of heat requires $1.20 or more of fuel.  The typical pool averages $1000 to $1500 per year for heat with propane.  Natural gas is approximately 30% less. Gas pool heaters exhaust a delightful mix of pollutants and contaminants into the air.
So, a typical pool can really leave a huge carbon footprint. With 7,000,000 backyard pools, that really is a dent on the environment.
 
What Can We Do?
There are so many ways to conserve energy, water and chemicals at the pool. Leaving a minimal carbon footprint is easier than you think. The following is a list of things you can do, to do your part in trying to leave as little impact on the earth.
 
10 Ways To Reduce The Carbon Footprint On Swimming Pools
1)    Always cover your pool. Pool covers reduce evaporation, heat loss and chemical loss.
2)    Reduce the size or horsepower of your pool pump.
3)    Heat your pool with a solar pool heater. Or not at all.
4)    Avoid horseplay and excess splashing.
5)    Turn off waterfalls and water features when not in use.
6)    Use a salt chlorine generator.
7)    Use a cartridge filter. Cartridge filters use hundreds of gallons less than DE or sand filters
8)    LED lights use much less energy that incandescent lights.
9)    Use a pool cleaner that does not require electricity or a booster pump.
10)   Use a good winter cover, to avoid draining the pool.