Pool professionals are mindful of the need for more environmentally responsible approaches, and have been working for many years to adapt their solutions and make them more energy efficient and more sustainable. Reducing water consumption, pursuing technical innovations and developing smart home systems are just a few of the aspects that will shape tomorrow’s water and energy-efficient pools, whether they be residential or commercial.
A general trend: reducing energy consumption
While the number of pools in France has more than doubled over the past 15 years, from 708,000 in the 2000 to 1.76 million in 2015, their size has shrunk over the same period. Likewise, in 30 years, the average volume of water required to fill an average pool has been divided by three, while the energy consumed annually by filtration systems has been divided by four, and that consumed to heat water by more than nine*.
These trends apply in particular to residential pools, as confirms Michel Dupenloup, editor-in-chief at Activité Piscine magazine: “With regard to residential pools, the are three major environmental aspects to take into consideration: energy savings, water savings, and development of water treatment products with a lower impact on the environment.
Thus, more and more pools have a smaller capacity. The large pools (actually used for swimming) of the 1980s are no longer the norm. Today’s residential pools are considered as an extra room for the house, and as a lifestyle choice. Given the decreasing availability of building land, and that (in France) there are no regulatory constraints on pools with surface areas of less than 10 m2, the norms have changed and become more environmentally friendly. Current pools require less energy to function: pumps don’t need to be as powerful as they used to be, and there is less water to heat and to treat. On the renovation front, the trend is also to reduce the size and depth of existing pools. The “less water” trend is catching on. Furthermore, techniques and technologies have progressed significantly, thereby optimising energy consumption. A good example is the arrival of variable-speed pumps, the increasingly widespread use of heat pumps and the improved energy efficiency of pool equipment on the whole. Lastly, automatic water treatment systems allow pools to be managed more efficiently. The water is only treated when it needs to be. It is now possible to control the pH and the amount of disinfectant automatically. Likewise, the use of smart home systems is expanding. Remote management and control systems offer great potential for anticipation.”
An objective to be pursued: water-efficient pools
Through its Sustainable Development Commission, the French Federation of Pool Professionals (FPP) has developed software that calculates a pool’s carbon footprint. The software showed that the impact is on average very low: 350 kg of carbon dioxide per year for a pool measuring 8 m x 4 m.
“Today’s pools consume less water, since their sizes are better suited to smaller gardens, and less energy: these aspects are constantly being improved in order to propose water and energy-efficient pools”, the FPP underlines.
These improvements concern several key aspects that have been optimised in the past few years:
- the amount of water required (divided by three between 1980 and 2015);
- controlled water consumption;
- improved water treatment (in terms of product composition and dosing);
- less energy-intensive filtration systems (consumption divided by four between 1980 and 2015);
- more environmentally-friendly heating systems (consumption divided by more than nine between 1980 and 2015);
- less energy-intensive lighting systems.
These environmental optimisations are likely to continue in the future, making it possible to design and build highly efficient pools. Several areas for improvement have already emerged:
- water treatment: raising pool owners’ awareness concerning the sustainable use of treatment products, new water treatment processes, and fine-tuning the automatic management of electrolysers and chemical dosing pumps;
- filtration: improving filtration capacity and energy efficiency, improving pre-filtration systems, and developing automated systems;
- heating: improving heat pump efficiency and pool cover performance levels, raising pool owners’ awareness concerning the use of insulated pool covers;
- lighting: developing the use of LED lights with increasingly high performance levels.
A French industrial SME specialising in the design and development of automated pool water treatment systems, is completely in line with this environmental trend. Its core business is salt water electrolysis. This more environmentally friendly process involves producing chlorine on site using salt. No more transporting or storing chlorine: the system merely requires water from the pool, salt and an electrolyser. And the company is developing new innovations, as Administrative and Financial Director Sarah Guezbar explains “We have just launched a new electrolyser that requires only a minimal amount of salt (1.5 g per litre, instead of the usual 5 g). This eco-friendly innovation is particularly suited to pools that are corrosion-prone. This new product will be put in the spotlight at Piscine Global. Our customers from France and around the world are eagerly awaiting it. 30 to 40% of our turnover is generated outside France”.
Crucial issues for public pools
Given the budgetary constraints being imposed on local authorities, energy optimisation and the resulting savings are particularly important. The environment is also a major concern in projects to build new facilities or renovate existing ones.
The “Isabelle Jouffroy” municipal pool in Caluire-et-Cuire was renovated in 2008 in compliance with French “HQE” (high environmental quality) standards in order to integrate it into its surroundings and improving its energy efficiency. The building’s architecture now features specific facade cladding and a 400 sqm roof planted with vegetation, which creates a privacy screen. The pool is also equipped with 220 sqm of solar panels that heat the water for the showers and 85 sqm of photovoltaic panels that generate 8,800 kWh of electricity. The water quality is improved and green spaces are watered using rainwater recovery systems. Thought was also given to savings that could be made in relation to pool water renewal, reducing water consumption by 10,000 cubic meters per year compared to 2012. This approach was embraced by the entire staff, as pool manager Stéphane Guiard stresses: “This approach is shared by all our employees. We manage our pool the way we manage our own homes! The next project we are looking into is the lighting system, a potential solution being to use LED lights to reduce our energy consumption”.
These issues are at the heart of all pool managers’ concerns. “In Décines, our building complies with French environmental standards (HEQ*), which helps us control our costs”, Décines pool manager Julien Fouillet underlines. “For example, the water for the showers is heated by solar panels installed on the roof. However, beyond the design of the facility itself, we strive to be environmentally responsible in our everyday management of the pool. For instance, we are currently looking into ways to improve – smartly! – our electricity consumption: using LED lights, thermally insulating pipes, etc.”
A number of specific areas and events at the heart of Piscine Global focus on environmental aspects related to public pools:
Public Authorities’ Days 17 & 18 November
These two days are dedicated specifically to public authorities. They are an opportunity for public pool managers to attend seminars and round tables on issues that concern them, to have discussions with fellow managers and to visit the Intercommunal Aquatic Centre (Lyon - St Fons – Vénissieux), which was rebuilt in compliance with the latest standards following a major fire.
Tourism and Leisure Establishments’ Day 17 November
Piscine Global has decided to dedicate a special day to answering all the questions raised by managers of tourism establishments (hotels, campsites) or leisure facilities (water parks, etc.). It will address the issues inherent to equipping, managing, maintaining and organising aquatic areas and will combine a guided tour of a facility, seminars/round tables and a specific offering at the exhibition.
The Aqualie area
brings together close to 300 exhibitors, co-participants and brands whose offering is dedicated to commercial pools. Seminars are also organised to address issues inherent to these types of facilities: hygiene, regulations, management of users, etc..
The Aquafitness Festival
stages demonstrations of fitness products used in pools, which play an important role in promoting public pools today.
is an area dedicated to new products entering the market. Whether they be eco-efficient or high-tech, the innovations making the biggest splash on the market will be on display in this area. During the exhibition, a trophy for the Sustainable Development category will be awarded to the most striking innovation that addresses environmental concerns. The trophy for the best New Products category will reward the most striking technological innovation.
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