Going Green At The Pool

Cartridge filters can be cleaned by removing and spraying them thoroughly with a garden hose. This method uses between 50 gallons to 100 gallons of water. The cartridge filter has a hydraulic advantage over the sand filter–since the cartridge filter is not cleaned by backwashing, a backwash value is unnecessary. This is another way to reduce the resistance that makes the pump have to work harder.

Chlorine Generators

Most pool operators typically shock the pool because chlorine degrades with time, resulting in fluctuating chlorine levels. A chlorine generator provides a steady level of chlorine by using a small amount of electricity to convert table salt into chlorine.

“You’re not exposing the maintenance staff to chlorine fumes,” says Centrella. “With this device you literally are continuously generating chlorine with very little electrical energy.”

The automatic chlorine generator is easy to use. Simply set it to the log value that you need to have for the parts per million (ppm) level of chlorine. The generator will maintain that level and will alert you to when you need to add more salt, which is as easy as pouring table salt into the pool.

Pump Selection

Variable-speed pumps allow you to change the flow rate. A fundamental law of physics states there is a relationship between speed, flow, pressure and power consumed. The energy-conserving component of this law is that by reducing the pump speed by half, you will get half the flow for one-eighth of the power.

Health departments usually require a minimum of a six-hour turnover rate when the pool is operating. This means that with a variable-speed pump, you have the option of reducing the flow when the pool is closed, which will reduce fuel costs.

Shedding A Little Light

“LED [light emitting diode] lights are very effective, and they take a lot less energy to run than the traditional 500-watt, 125-volt lights installed in most park and recreation pools,” says Centrella. LED selection should be based on the amount of lumens the unit produces to make sure the pool is meeting safety requirements.

Fiber optics are being used as accent lighting to enhance water features, such as laminar jets, waterfalls and bubblers, as well as along the borders of swimming pools. “Fiber-optic lighting is something that should be done during construction,” says Steve Gasperson, vice president of marketing and sales for Fiberstars, a fiber-optic lighting manufacturer. “The majority of our products are used to accent water features such as those you would see at a water park.”


Dehumidifiers remove the humidity from the air and convert it into water, which is returned to the pool. “It is a good cost savings, and you have to have a dehumidifier with indoor pools,” says Centrella. “The issue with the dehumidifier is that you must maintain the pool balance to keep the dehumidifier from eroding.”

Green Future

“The industry as a whole is working on ways to reduce costs and create more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly pools,” says Centrella.

With various states enacting laws for residential pools to use variable-speed pumps, going green might not be optional for commercial pools in the future. But, by taking a few easy steps now, pool operators can create an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly pool which benefits the bottom line and reduces workplace hazards.

Tammy York is the president of LandShark Communications LLC in Greater Cincinnati. She left her state public-relations position to pursue her passions of outdoor recreation and marketing. Her upcoming book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cincinnati is due out spring 2009. You can reach her at landsharkpr@yahoo.com

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