Case study: building an ecological public swimming pool in Norway
A true pioneer in low energy consumption swimming pool with, the Holmen ecological pool opened in 2017 by the municipality of Asker (Norway) sets an example: by integrating a host of clever technical it halves greenhouse gas emissions vs. a traditional public pool. What did it do to achieve this amazing result?
The Holmen ecological swimming pool in brief
The public swimming pool was built in an already popular site near the beach, 20km from Oslo, the capital. It combines both an active and passive approach to ecology as Elisabeth Kolrud, environmental adviser to the municipality of Asker explains. “The most significant aspects of our building are its low energy consumption due to its HVAC system and on-site production of renewable energy from geothermic wells, photovoltaic panels and solar collectors.”
Designed by ARKíS arkitektar the 5,333sq.m. two floor building houses all the equipment necessary for swimming (8 lane pool, therapeutic pool…) and the creation of social links (catering space, relaxation area, etc …). It can host 400 users (spectators and swimmers). The integration of the public swimming pool into its surroundings was imagined upstream and includes a green roof open to the public with views over the fjord and green spaces around the building.
Key elements in the ecological construction of the pool
All public pools use a lot of energy. To reduce power consumption Holmen worked on three different approaches.
The building has 650sq.m. of solar panels on its southern roof and frontage, 650sq.m. of solar collectors under the car park, 15 geothermal wells, a heat recovery system from waste waters and the HVAC system. 12% of the pool power requirement could be generated by the solar panels alone!
To reduce heating, the therapeutic swimming pool and three of the main pool water inlets have adjustable floors – which also saves water loss from evaporation. A pump recycles the heat generated by the water in the showers. The geothermic wells cool the air when necessary, eliminating the need for an expensive air-conditioning system.
Last but not least, this ecological swimming pool uses smart technology to control the whole pool and power supply system simply and effectively, making it possible to detect any problems immediately and take the appropriate action.
Low carbon concrete was used, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17% vs. traditional concrete.
The use of public transport serving the surrounding cities more frequently cuts down trips to the pool by car with a consequent reduction in the surface needed for car parks. Bike sheds are also available with power points for recharging electric bicycles - very popular in Norway.
A favorable context for sustainable projects
The construction of this public pool reflects Norway’s strong commitment to sustainable development. In fact Oslo is awarded the “European Green Capital” 2019 prize for its know-how in this field (1) since 2017. This commitment to environmental protection is true of all Scandinavian countries and for many years past. Jointly with the public authorities of Baerum, Asker and Drammen, Oslo launched the ten-year FutureBuilt program, which combines quality architecture with the development of areas and buildings without greenhouse gas emissions. There are 50 pilot studies in the program – including the Holmen public swimming pool!
Everywhere in the world, sustainable development is a fundamental factor in public pool designs. To find out more about the challenges and existing solutions come to the next Piscine Global Europe Show for conferences on topics ranging from construction to design, restoration and connected swimming pools!
Also see the Commercial Pools Village, our new space devoted to professionals involved in public swimming pools.
(1) French ministry of economy and finances: Le développement des « villes durables » en Norvège
Photo credits : TLaututen