Diving Deep into ‘Going Green’

operating costs

Swimming pool pump rooms are among the areas most scrutinized when university facilities undergo ‘energy audits’ due to the amount of energy consumed by pumps, filters and even pool lighting. When looking for ways to reduce operating costs, specifically those associated with running the campus aquatics facility, don’t forget to consider possible changes within the pool’s pump room. By adding the most up-to-date, energy-efficient technology to handle the pool’s needs, a campus recreation center can drastically reduce operating costs by saving energy.

The University of North Carolina in Greensboro (UNCG) recently built a new wellness center with two swimming pools and intentionally equipped its pump room with ‘green’ energy saving products.  The equipment includes variable frequency drives on the pool pumps, efficient sand filters plus new LED lighting — all chosen to reduce their daily operating costs.

Variable Frequency Drives: 

One of the fastest, easiest ways to lower monthly electrical bills is to add a variable frequency drive (VFD) to pool pumps. A VFD is designed to save energy and operating costs by increasing pump performance, saving up to 60 percent or more on the pump’s electricity usage. The VFD allows the system to ramp up to full speed during the day as the pool reaches peak bather loads. At night, the drive can slow the pump down to continue filtration but not at full speed while closed. The VFD units have a minimal payback time as they automatically optimize energy. Many utility providers around the country even offer rebates to those that install a variable frequency drive — making the investment in the drive minimal.   


In addition to the variable frequency drive units, the UNCG facility installed two sand filters systems with manway viewports and an integrated automatic backwash control system that makes them highly energy efficient. The manway viewport provides a quick, visual observation of the sand bed during filtration and backwash that allows for better monitoring and maintenance. In fact, the difference between a clean and dirty filter can nearly double the pump’s energy consumption, so checking the sand filters frequently is crucial. These filters with manway viewports and backwash controllers help drastically reduce aquatic facility energy usage.

LED Lighting: 

Don’t forget about the pool lights — both in and around the pool. Old incandescent lights are inefficient and don’t provide the best illumination. Changing aquatic facility lights to LED technology immediately lowers electrical bills and maintenance staff will rarely need to change those bulbs. New LED pool lights use 89 percent less electricity than incandescent and halogen pool lights. LED circuits are extremely energy efficient and because each light lasts much longer, the bulbs are changed less frequently, providing aquatic facilities additional savings over time. UNCG immediately noticed an improvement in the underwater visibility, not to mention lower monthly electrical bills.

Today’s ‘green’ technology reduces operating costs so your aquatics facility can lower its operating costs.


Mike Fowler is the commercial marketing and sales manager for Pentair Commercial Aquatics. He can be reached via email at mike.fowler@pentair.com.


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