There are several key factors to making your pool more environmentally friendly and sustainable. By looking at how you maintain your pool water, the types and amount of chemicals used, your daily power consumption and maximising the life of your pool equipment will make your pool more environmentally friendly, sustainable and very likely, a more healthy option for you and your family.
The Pool Water
The main component of every pool is the pool water. There is anywhere from 10,000lts up to 100,000lts in the typical residential pool which needs to be sanitised and filtered to maintain water quality fit for swimming. Every month, the filter needs to be checked, backwashed or cleaned. This can send 100's of litres of water straight down the storm water drain, along with the typically harsh chemicals like chlorine and residual minerals like salt and calcium which can enter our waterways and cause more harm to the surrounding environment.
Ways to reduce the impact of your filter backwashing or even completely stop the negative effects can be done easily 2 ways. By changing your filter media from sand or Zelbrite, to glass (either recycled or virgin glass). This will considerably reduce how often and how long backwashing is required and therefore reducing the amount of water that is essentially 'wasted' down the drain.
The second is by changing the type of sanitisation of your pool from a typical chlorine or salt to a Mineral Pool or Freshwater Pool. Both are able to keep the pool water clear with lower chlorine levels at or under 1.5ppm (normal salt or chlorine pools typically require around 3-4ppm)* By reducing the more corrosive chemicals needed in the water, when backwashed into the stormwater drain, the water that can potentially be harmful to the surrounding environment are minimised. Mineral pools also give you the ability to use the backwashed water in the garden where the mineral contents are actually good for your plants! No wasted water, lower water bills and happier plants, now thats a win-win-win.
* ppm = parts per million
You've probably noticed the difference between you power bills in Summer and Winter. This reduction in costs also represents a reduction in power consumption all the way up the line to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions required to generate the power in the 1st place. A typical 1hp pool pump runs at a constant speed drawing the same amount of power every time it's turned on. The latest pump technology provides Variable Speed Pumps (VSP's) which are able to be set to a lower speed and power consumption, yet still providing the water turnover required to filter the pool water effectively.
Robotic Cleaners can also provide a much more efficient cleaning system by running independently of the pool filtration system. Robotic cleaners are able to clean the pool in a shorter period of time (generally within 3 hours) and are low voltage (usually 24 volts). This reduces the power consumption of the cleaner to keep your pool clean when compared to a traditional suction cleaner which requires the pool filter pump to be running to be able to clean the swimming pool.
The idea behind the Electricity tariffs are to encourage the use of equipment during non-peak times and therefore limiting the load on the electrical grid. There are two economy tariffs available:
Super Economy Tariff 31 which can can save up to 44% where the electricity supply is made available a minimum of 8 hours per day though usually it is only between 10pm and 6am. This Tariff is not recommended for a pool pump as it would be running late at night causing extra noise, as well as not having the pool run during the day to sanitise the water when its most needed. Tariff 31, also requires your filtration equipment to be 'hard wired' by a licensed electrician.
The Economy Tariff 33 can save you up to 15% on running costs. The electricity supply is made available a minimum of 18 hours per day outside daily peak demand times around 4pm-8pm. To connect your pool equipment to a tariff 33, a licensed electrician must connect the Tariff however all of your filtration can be "plug in" using the factory supplied power lead.
Contact your electricity retailer for the latest information on tariff rates and supply charges.
Another popular environmentally friendly option for power usage is to install solar panels for the household electricity. Currently, households get the most value out of a solar system by using power during the day, while it's being made (when your pool pump generally runs). Depending on the solar system, you may also be able to export excess electricity generated to the grid with benefits for your bill and the environment.
By increasing the life of your pool equipment, you're reducing how often the old equipment and parts will be turned into waste product.
When it comes to pool equipment, buying high quality will always be a better investment in the long term. Paying a little more now will save you repairs, maintenance and replacement in the future and reduce its impact on the environment as waste.
At Rode Pool Services, when we replace a piece of pool equipment we always do our best to salvage as many of the useable parts and repurpose them as spares and 'loaner units' to reduce what goes into the bin. We also rinse and recycle all of our plastic chemical bottles and cardboard boxes where possible.
It may not seem like much, though when you consider that almost 1 in 5 households in Brisbane have a swimming pool, all of these little things add up. From Broken skimmer baskets to every old suction cleaner that needs to be replaced everyday... thats a lot!
Have you made changes to make your pool more Environmentally friendly or sustainable? Let us know what you did!
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