Dive Into Sustainable Pools
In the height of Australia’s scorching summers, individuals nation-wide seek the refuge of refreshing, crisp waters and as global temperatures continue to soar, Australians are increasingly looking towards sustainable pools that provide the double assurance of keeping themselves and the planet cool. Here, Emma Warner Allen meets with Dean Jones from Neptune Pools to discuss how you can incorporate sustainable products and designs into your pool and the merits of doing so.
WATER CONSERVATION NATION
With permanent water restrictions in place in Melbourne, ensuring this vital resource is maintained has become more pertinent in recent years. Most water loss in pools can be attributed to evaporation from the water’s surface. Factors such as surface area, wind levels, and air temperature and humidity all need to be accounted for to prevent water loss. “The most efficient way to reduce water lost by evaporation is to install a pool cover.” Jones explains, “Traditionally, people baulked away from pool covers due to the difficulty of installation and their appearance, however, now products like the Sunbather Down Under Cover and the Remco Swimroll make these an appealing option.”
Other practical alternatives include creating some form of windbreaker. Conjuring up images of half-formed tents scattering a beachside, windbreakers don’t have to be an aesthetic assault and can be easily incorporated into your alfresco area by means of strategically placed plants or a boundary fence which serve to disrupt the air stream.
As landscaping can be a large undertaking, pool covers are often a more accessible way to reduce water loss and depending on the pool cover you wish to install, can be more cost effective too. “Pool covers range greatly in price from around $1,500 for a standard roller cover, to $7,500 for a hidden pool cover, to $40,000 for an automatic cover.” Though Jones cautions, “the payback for these covers would depend on how many months a year the clients are swimming in the pool and at what temperature.
BRAVING ENERGY SAVING
Perhaps the more commonly considered element when constructing a pool is its energy expenditure. However, water saving features goes hand-in-hand with energy saving, “covers are used to reduce heat loss and therefore energy usage in maintaining the pool temperature”, Jones notes.
The inclusion of energy saving features is already observable in a range of technology today and Jones asserts that, “a fairly standard item we use now are variable speed pumps. When combined with a pool control system we can set the pump speed to be what is required to complete the task rather than [have] it run at full speed all the time. This reduces power consumption significantly.”
Combining this with a renewable energy source is a divine combination that allows the required running costs to be offset with clean, green energy. “We are seeing a lot of solar power systems being added to houses to offset the running costs of the filtration equipment and even heating costs via the addition of a heat pump.” In addition, simply switching from a single speed pump to a variable one will significantly negate expenses and your environmental impact. Jones elaborates, “a variable speed pump would roughly cost double that of a single speed pool pump, however, would probably pay off within the first 12 months via the energy savings.”
CLEAN, GREEN, SWIMMING MACHINE
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy is always conserved; it cannot be created or destroyed and this principle holds true to every aspect of life. The use of harsh chemicals in swimming pools can have an adverse impact on your health and that of the surrounding ecosystem. Striving to reduce the use of harmful compounds is beneficial to all who intend to use the pool. Jones corroborates this by explaining, “rather than completely eliminating chlorine from the water, we look to reduce the levels when required as pools work best when there is some chlorine present in the water. Systems we have had success with include UV sterilisers which use UV light to kill most of the germs and algae, therefore reducing the levels of chlorine by up to 80 per cent.”
Better yet, “we have also used with success, the Naked Pools NKD1 Freshwater Pool System. This combines oxidation with ionisation to deliver crystal clear freshwater. With low amounts of salt and minerals present, the water is soft and rejuvenating – gentle on sensitive skin, eyes, and less damaging to surroundings and equipment.” Many will attest to the benefits of the freshwater system and its abundance of minerals have measurable health benefits, such as magnesium which helps with muscle recovery.
For those unable to convert to the freshwater system, Jones recommends using self-cleaning systems to lessen the reliance on chemicals and reduce the use of energy. “Neptune Pools have been installing Paramount in floor self-cleaning systems for over 20 years and have found that generally all of the pools remain clean. The system is set up so that it is cleaning the pool every day, providing enhanced filtration and chlorination which reduces the spikes in chemical usage.”
Overall, there are many benefits to incorporating sustainable energy features into your pool. Before embarking on your sustainable pool journey, always consult an industry professional to ensure you are gaining the best advice and implementing the latest technology.
So which appliance brands will be most effective for integration? That depends on your preferences and the style of your kitchen. Some homeowners prefer to opt for a kitchen replete with an entire brand, while others will pick and choose based on their kitchen space, preferences and recommendations. When choosing such appliances, it’s important to also consider what your goal is for your kitchen; is it your forever kitchen, or will you be looking to move in the future? “Are you doing this kitchen for yourself, or are you doing it for resale value?” Collins encourages homeowners to ask
themselves. “Certain brands will add [value] to what you are doing, and that comes down to resale – for example a full SMEG kitchen.”
Urging clients to always begin their renovation or build with the end product in mind, the pair flag that the installation of a single high-end appliance, won’t
itself make a kitchen high-end overall. “By sticking with the one brand grouping, you can get consistency with what you’re doing, which means resale value,” he adds. Antonello explains that Camberwell Electrics Designer Appliances always carry several different options of each item in a range – from cheaper ‘entry level’ products, through to a mid and high-end look, all while remaining uniformed in the kitchen’s appearance. “SMEG have got their beautiful Dolce range, their classic range, their linear range. It fits the market for all categories; their look integrates itself,” Antonello says.
If you’re choosing to travel down the integrated pathway, and delve behind closed cabinet doors, be sure you’re dealing with an accredited professional that will help you add value to your kitchen as a whole. “It’s not just about price, you’re going to want to deal with someone who is actually going to look after you, and go with the end product in mind. It’s not just a look, it’s the feel, it’s the delivery, it’s helping with the installation,” Collins affirms.