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There is a trend among many health clubs to execute internal “energy audits” to determine ways to lower energy consumption — and therefore operating costs. Clubs are learning that going green, especially in their aquatics facilities, can add dollars to the bottom line.
Swimming pool pumps are among the items most scrutinized due to the amount of energy they consume. When looking for ways to reduce operating costs, specifically those associated with running your aquatic facility, don’t forget to consider possible changes in your pool’s pump room. By adding the most up-to-date, energy-efficient technology to handle your pool’s needs, you can drastically reduce your operating costs by saving energy.
One of the fastest, easiest ways to lower your monthly electrical bill is to add a variable frequency drive (VFD) to your pool pumps. A VFD is designed specifically to help aquatic facilities save energy and operating costs by increasing pump performance, saving up to 60 percent or more on your pump’s electricity usage.
The VFD allows the system to ramp up to full speed during the day as your pool reaches peak bather loads. At night, the drive can slow the pump down to continue filtration, but not at full speed while closed. VFD units have a minimal payback time, as they automatically optimize energy. Most VFD units offer a built-in display to show you how much time remains until your drive pays for itself. Many utility providers around the country even offer rebates to those that install a VFD — making the investment minimal.
Athletic clubs with pools are also opting to install an easy-to-use, variable speed pump to save additional costs. Variable speed pumps are self-priming, highly energy efficient pumps. Together a variable speed pump and a VFD will immediately lower your monthly energy bill.
Athletic clubs should also look at the heating of their pools as an additional area to reduce monthly operating costs. Older heaters are less efficient than today’s pool heaters and over time become even less efficient, which means it takes a lot more energy to heat the same amount of water.
Replace your old heater with a new, high-efficiency heater with a direct-fire heat exchanger made from pure titanium — these durable, corrosion-resistant units have a 96 percent thermal efficiency rating. After getting a new heater, consider using a pool cover to prevent heat from escaping your pool when temperatures drop overnight. A pool cover provides the added benefit of preventing evaporation when your pool is not in use. The less water you lose to evaporation, the less energy — and cost — it will take to heat the pool’s water.
Finally, don’t forget about your pool lights. Old incandescent lights are inefficient and don’t provide the best illumination. Change aquatic facility lights to LED technology and watch your electrical bills plunge even lower. Today’s green technology reduces operating costs so your club can be more profitable.
Mike Fowler is the commercial marketing and sales manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems in Sanford, North Carolina. He has been with Pentair since 1992, starting his career in the technical services department at Purex Pool Products. Fowler has held many managerial roles within the company, including marketing, accounting and products. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information call 800.831.7133 or visit pentaircommercial.com.