9 Ways to Reduce Your Pool’s Carbon Footprint

Energia Image

9 Ways to Reduce Your Pool’s Carbon Footprint

Worried about carbon emissions? Find out how to minimise energy and water consumption and reduce your pool’s carbon footprint.

Everyone wants to do their bit for the planet. But when you’ve got a pool, it can feel like an impossible task. Think about how much energy is used when you run a pool pump every day. Or the amount of water needed to top up your pool. When you multiply that by almost 3 million pool owners in Australia, those figures can be eye-popping!

But it’s not all bad news. There are plenty of ways to reduce your pool’s carbon footprint without burning a hole in your pocket – or backfilling your pool. It all comes down to two things: minimising energy and water consumption, and, where possible, using renewable energy sources. Read on to find out why your pool’s carbon footprint is important and what you can do to make a difference.

What’s a carbon footprint?

In simple terms, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon emissions or greenhouse gases generated by an activity, action, product or service. When it comes to your pool, it’s about the amount of energy used to maintain it, including the use of your pool pump, heater, chlorinator, cleaner and lights.

But it doesn’t stop at electricity. It also includes the amount of water you use to fill or top up your pool. That’s right, even water had a carbon footprint! In fact, pumping, treating and delivering water to your home can account for 10 per cent of greenhouse gases globally.

So you’re probably wondering why carbon emissions are so bad. Well, it all boils down to the fact that carbon dioxide absorbs heat from the sun and the Earth’s surface. As a result, it increases atmospheric temperatures and leads to melting ice caps, higher sea levels, animal or plant extinction, food security issues and extreme weather events.

Luckily, pools don’t produce as much carbon dioxide as mining, manufacturing or transport, but they still put a strain on our fragile energy and water resources. And sure, we can’t control the emissions caused by the manufacturing of pools and pool equipment (which can be considerable), but we can still reduce the carbon emissions associated with the maintenance of our pools.

How to reduce your pool’s carbon footprint

It doesn’t matter if you’ve just bought a pool or you’ve had one for years, here are 9 things you can do to reduce your pool’s carbon emissions:

1. Upgrade to a variable speed pool pump

While single- and dual-speed pool pumps are popular and affordable, they go full throttle and use a lot of energy. A variable speed pool pump, on the other hand, operates at much lower speeds and uses up to 80 per cent less electricity. Not only is this better for your budget (especially with rising energy costs), but it also improves filtration, minimising the need for automatic cleaners or harsh chemicals. For best results, choose a pump with a high energy rating, preferably 8 or above. The higher the rating, the lower your carbon emissions!

Pro tip: Some councils or energy providers provide a rebate when you upgrade to an energy-efficient pool pump. Check with your local council or provider for more information.

2. Use a pool cover

Using a pool cover can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your pool more sustainable.
For a start, it can minimise water evaporation. In fact, it can stop up to 97 per cent of evaporation and reduce the need for top-ups or chemical adjustments.

Second, covers help maintain your pool’s water temperature. According to SPASA, 80 per cent of heat is lost through the surface of your pool. By using a cover, you minimise exposure to cold air and keep heating costs down. And if you choose a solar cover, you can harness the heat of the sun and increase the temperature of your pool water by up to 8 degrees, reducing or even eliminating the need for a heater.

Third, covers keep out environmental debris, particularly during storms or windy weather. Not only does this increase the longevity of your filtration system and maintain your water balance, but it can also reduce the need for an automatic pool cleaner.

3. Don’t drain your pool in winter

This may seem like a no-brainer, but unless your pool needs resurfacing or you’ve got a stubborn algae problem, there’s no need to drain your pool. This can waste thousands of litres of water every winter and introduce harmful chemicals into our waterways, not to mention increase your water bill!

To make matters worse, draining your pool can cause cracks in the shell or damage your in-built cleaning system (if you’ve got one), leading to unnecessary waste. To avoid this, keep the pool filled with water, use a cover and follow a winter pool maintenance routine.

4. Switch to solar heating

Solar power is by far the most eco-friendly method you can use to heat your pool. Unlike a gas or electric heater, which uses energy to generate heat, a solar heating system absorbs the heat of the sun and channels it into your pool. And while you need a pump to get the water through the tubes, the energy expenditure can be as little as 1 kW per hour, which is far less than you would need for a pool heat pump or a gas heater.
The only negative with solar pool heaters is the installation cost, but you’ll save thousands in running costs further down the track. According to Ausgrid, greenhouse gas emissions for solar heating can be as little as 40 kg per week, while for a heat pump it can be 290 kg a week.
Pro tip: Before making a purchase, check with your provider to make sure solar pool heating is the best option for your pool. Factors like the shape of your roof, orientation or climate could make it unsuitable or ineffective.

Solar panels. Source: Sunbather

5. Use glass media

If you want an eco-friendly option for your sand or media filter, consider upgrading to glass media. Because it’s smooth and less densely packed, it doesn’t need to be backwashed as often – or for as long – which means you’ll be using up to 50 per cent less water. Plus, it’s made from recycled glass bottles, making it more sustainable than sand.

As for longevity, sand needs to be replaced every 5 years, while glass media can be used for up to 10 years. This means it lasts twice as long, minimising waste and saving you money in the long run.

Last, glass can filter particles as small as 5 microns, while sand can only filter 20–40 microns. Much of this is due to glass’s negative charge, which can attract and release particles more readily. As a result, you’ll have clearer pool water. This means you won’t have to run your pool cleaner as often – or use as many chemicals to remove stubborn microparticles.

6. Harvest your rainwater

If you don’t have a water tank, consider buying one to harvest rainwater from your roof and use it in your pool. Pool water levels can drop due to evaporation, splashing and backwashing, which can put pressure on our water system, particularly during times of drought. But by connecting a water tank to your pool and using a water leveller, you can top up your water whenever those levels drop – and save money in the process.

Pro tip: Before buying a water tank, make sure your roof material is safe and suitable for harvesting, and that you have a first-flush system that removes impurities before the water enters the tank.

7. Use LED lights

Most new pool installations come with energy-saving LED lights, but if you’ve got an older pool with halogen or incandescent globes, consider switching to LEDs. They use a quarter of the energy of halogen globes and last twice as long, reducing energy bills and glass waste. They’re also easy to automate, which means you’re unlikely to leave them on overnight.

Pool lights. Source: Pexels

8. Install an automation system

Automating your pool equipment can reduce the amount of energy, water and chemicals you use in your pool. For example, sanitation and pH levels are adjusted automatically, minimising the risk of water balance issues.

An automation system can also slow down or speed up your variable speed pump, depending on your pool’s needs, minimising energy consumption. What’s more, all pool processes are controlled by a timer, so you won’t forget to turn them off.

Pro Tip: Before buying an automation system, make sure your pool equipment is compatible. Some may synch with your system while others won’t. Ideally, you should buy your system before construction so all components work together seamlessly.

9. Convert to a mineral pool

Liquid or granular chlorine isn’t the most eco-friendly option for your pool. In fact, the manufacture of chlorine can result in mercury and carbon emissions, which can have a serious effect on the environment (not to mention disrupt our ecosystem when it gets into the waterways).

If you want a more sustainable sanitation system, consider converting to a mineral pool. Using a blend of natural minerals and a chlorinator to produce active chlorine, it eliminates the need for manual dosing. Plus, the chlorinator adjusts sanitation levels automatically, minimising waste and keeping your pool bacteria-free all year round.

Mineral pools also contain magnesium, which has a natural ‘flocculating’ ability. This means that it can filter microparticles and keep your pool cleaner for longer. Not only does this minimise the use of harsh chemicals, like clarifiers and flocculants, but it can also reduce the need for automatic pool cleaners.

And last, if you use a mineral system like MagnaPool, you can dilute the backwash (five parts water to one part backwash) and use it to irrigate your garden. Not only will it help you save water, but the minerals in the water will nourish your soil and boost plant growth.

Summing up

Reducing your pool’s carbon emissions isn’t difficult, as long as you take the right steps. For those on modest budgets, start with using a thermal or solar cover, switching to a variable pool pump, upgrading to glass media and replacing your halogen lights with LEDs. For those with bigger budgets, consider installing a solar heating system, water tank, pool automation system or mineral pool. Whatever your budget, we recommend using as many strategies as possible. The more you try, the more you save! To find out more about mineral pools, check out our blog or contact one of our authorised dealers.

6 Comments

  • Richard Muldoone

    4 September 2019 - 8:12 am

    The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

    • Mike Dooley

      4 September 2019 - 8:13 am

      The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

  • Richard Muldoone

    4 September 2019 - 8:12 am

    The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

    • Mike Dooley

      4 September 2019 - 8:13 am

      The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

  • Richard Muldoone

    4 September 2019 - 8:12 am

    The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

    • Mike Dooley

      4 September 2019 - 8:13 am

      The example about the mattress sizing page you mentioned in the last WBF can be a perfect example of new keywords and content, and broadening the funnel as well. I can only imagine the sale numbers if that was the site of a mattress selling company.

Comments are closed.