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Energy efficient swimming pools – engagement and utilization

UNSW/RCC/SBPS Residential Swimming Pool Efficiency Program: final report
Household appliances Energy consumption Water Building retrofitting Australia

This report covers the activities of utilisation project “Energy efficient swimming pools – engagement and utilization”. This involved project partners: School of PV and RE Engineering, UNSW, Simply Better Pool Savings, and Randwick Council.

This partnership enabled Simply Better Pool Savings to utilise the research outputs from the CRC LCL Project RP1014 which investigated the use of low flow operation of solar pool heating and low flow operation for pool filtering. Residential pools account for up to 30% of a household’s total energy consumption, making them one of the largest energy consumers in the home. A typical residential pool filtering system uses a 1 kW pump and consumes over 2,000 kWh/year of electricity. A typical solar pool heating system normally operates over the swimming season (October to March). It utilises a pump that consumes ~0.75 kW or more and 6 kWh/day of electricity. 

The Pool Efficiency Program has provided a total of 70 pool energy assessments and retrofitted 39 pump speed controllers to existing single-speed pool pumps. The free pool energy assessments that were offered to the participants included a tailored summary of how their pool currently consumes energy, simple suggestions to reduce energy consumption, and either the subsidised pool pump retrofit or a subsidised pump replacement. On average, the Pool Efficiency Program has reduced the pool pump energy consumption by 71% (~1,740 kWh/year per household) and saved $486 on annual electricity bills. The associated GHG emission reductions are 1.67 tonnes CO2-e per household per year, which is approximately the same amount of emissions produced by a typical car travelling 6,400 kilometres.  Over 94% of the participants who adopted a pool pump retrofit have reported that they are either ‘satisfied’ or better with their experience in Pool Efficiency Program. Over 44% said they were ‘extremely satisfied’.

The pool pump noise has been reduced by approximately 86% on average, which was highly regarded by all participants. As compared to the conventional pool industry in Australia, the pump retrofit option and setup optimisation provided by the Pool Efficiency Program is estimated to achieve ~44% higher solution adoption rates and obtain ~70% additional energy savings in every household that adopts the recommended improvements (~720 kWh/year). The energy savings were delivered by a) reducing the main filtering pump speed, and some combination of; b) reducing the solar pool heating pump speed and/or; c) optimizing the run times of the main filtering pumps and/or; and d) optimizing the run times of the pressure pool cleaner pumps. Where necessary and possible optimizations could also involve recommended changes to other existing pool equipment e.g. chlorinators.

Assuming all eligible residential swimming pools in the Randwick area were retrofitted with the pump speed controller, approximately 3.7 GWh of electricity could be saved every year, which corresponds to approximately 3.5 kt CO2-e of GHG emission reductions. 

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