Findings from this year’s State of the Wet Leisure Industry Survey by Golden Coast revealed energy-saving products as the leading trend in the marketplace – with more than 80 per cent of respondents reporting this as a significant area of growth. Golden Coast’s managing director, Jamie Adams, comments: “The demand for energy-efficient ownership creates a very real opportunity for our industry. “But, while many owners are keen to increase their pool’s energy-efficiency, many are unaware of just what’s possible, so a proactive approach is needed by companies to capitalise on this opportunity.”
Fortunately, there are now so many ways for owners of new and existing installations to save energy and reduce costs; from solar-powered pool covers, water-saving pre-filters and UV treatment systems to eco-friendly solar heaters, LED lighting and high-efficiency heat pumps. As Jamie explains, the underlying factor driving today’s sales is ultimately value for money: “It is clear that since the recession, customers are hunting around more in search of better value for money. The key to succeeding in such a demanding marketplace is to offer your customers the complete package: great products and excellent customer service at the right price.”
VALUE FOR MONEY
Not only is energy efficiency socially responsible for the benefit of the planet and future generations but it has huge financial implications in saving costs too. Huge price rises in gas, electricity and water tariffs have added tens of millions of pounds of costs to the country’s annual community swimming bill. Consequently, local authorities and leisure operators are finding themselves under more pressure than ever to demonstrate effective energy efficiency. Peter Marshall of Brenntag advises: “All pools, whether residential or commercial, should have the ability to monitor the energy that is being used on water usage, water heating, the amount of water lost to back wash, and the costs associated with fans and air heating. “Without this information, the ability to be efficient is affected as most sites run off one meter for each utility and it therefore becomes impossible to determine the savings that are being generated.” In addition, there is now a further very important reason why energy efficiency is critical to pool design – that is the necessity to comply with the increasing number and complexity of EU rules, including the Energy Related Product directive (ERP) and UK building regulations.
At the forefront of energy efficiency for over 30 years, Heatstar has invested in research and development to take advantage of energy saving advances in materials, systems and technology. The company offers a range of swimming pool environmental control systems which avoid the pitfall of non-compliance by not only complying with the latest EU regulations, brought in during 2013, but by exceeding the stringent regulations due to be applied in 2015. “One of the main considerations for an energy efficient pool lies within the choice of environmental control installed to manage the pool’s air and water environments,” says Paul Scott, technical director at Heatstar. “No two pool installations are the same and one of the key factors in energy efficiency is to specify exactly what each installation uniquely requires to operate at its ultimate energy efficiency. Key features to look for in an energy efficient environmental control system include humidity control, energy recovery, fresh air and variable rate ventilation, mechanical cooling and renewable energy heating solutions. “Dehumidification rates, air flows and heating duties should all be specified individually to give a completely balanced highly effective system operating at ideal efficiency,” explains Paul. “The position of the control panel, pipes, air duct spigots and maintenance access should also all be orientated during manufacture to accommodate the ideal equipment room layout. “For retrofit and refurbishment applications units should be custommade as necessary to accommodate existing services and plant space restrictions.”
Heatstar’s flagship product, the Phoenix EC Hybrid Dual Energy Recovery System combines two different technologies to achieve premium heat recovery performance. The expelled warm pool room air is first passed through the dehumidifying heat pump to enable active heat extraction and then through a large multi-plate heat recuperator, where remaining heat within the air is passively conducted directly to the incoming colder fresh air. Building regulations require of a minimum 50% dry heat recovery efficiency, whereas the combined effect of utilizing both the active heat extraction by the dehumidifying heat pump and the passive heat recovery of the recuperator, can enhance the heat saved from the expelled air to over 90 per cent.
Going ‘green’ is helpful in protecting the environment, but it can also translate into cost savings, too, so there’s an added incentive to make a change. With so many energy efficient pool products now on the market, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of clients are choosing to employ green methods and equipment when commissioning a new build pool or refurbishing an old one. The majority of responsible pool owners, both residential and commercial, now understand the need for their pools to be as energy efficient as possible. “Most people are now opting for energy efficient pools, more so than ever before,” comments Tim Bareham of Cresta Leisure. “It’s partly down to an increase in environmental awareness generally, as well as the rise in energy prices, and of course the allure of cost savings that can be achieved over time.” Tim adds: “Although energy efficient methods are generally more expensive to install, the benefits are huge. You’ve got to speculate to accumulate.”
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