Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Even if you don't believe in Global Warming, reducing your business' carbon footprint will be essential for its long term survival.

In doing so, you will:

I. Energy Consumption Areas

Swimming pool water needs to be continuously heated in order to overcome the cooling effect of evaporation and maintain comfortable temperatures. It must also be continuously filtered and treated, so it is not surprising that pools are significant users of energy.

Pool halls and changing areas are typically kept warmer than other spaces as pool users are wet and wear less clothing. Moreover, bathers consume large volumes of shower water, which adds to the overall energy consumption of pool facilities. Using energy efficiently can save up to 25% of overall operating costs of a typical swimming pool.

Implementing good energy management techniques can minimise consumption without lowering the standard of service to users.

In order to achieve the greatest savings potential, pool hall owners/managers should know where the majority of their energy is being consumed.

Typical areas for attention within a swimming pool are:

II. Energy Saving Opportunities

In each of the key consumption areas, there are three main opportunities to save energy:

Control - all energy-consuming equipment should be controlled carefully to give the required conditions and switched off when not required.

Maintenance - a number of energy efficiency measures can be carried out as part of routine maintenance for little or no extra cost.

Refurbishment - energy saving measures taken when planning major building refurbishment can be extremely cost-effective.

In most swimming pools, energy is supplied in two forms: fossil fuel (gas, oil, coal or LPG) and electricity.

For the majority of sites, space heating and hot water is supplied by fossil fuel. However, some facilities only have access to electricity or use it more extensively. Electricity is also used for lighting, electrical equipment, fans and pumps.

Reducing electricity consumption should take a high priority in an energy efficiency plan as it has higher cost and carbon emissions per kWh used than most fossil fuels.

Moreover, most electricity wastage is within the control of end users and can be minimised through good energy management and increased awareness.

III. Benchmarking

Energy benchmarking allows a pool manager to compare energy performance with other similar pool buildings across the UK and, over time, with their own previous performance.

Calculating a benchmark based on energy consumption per unit of floor area of a pool hall allows direct comparison with other facilities, giving managers an idea of how energy efficient their pool is.

The most recent benchmark figures for swimming pools were published in 2001 in the Carbon Trust publication Energy use in sports and recreation buildings (ECG078).

Although these figures are a little dated, they can still be used as a rough guide to performance relative to other organisations.

There are lots of opportunities for saving energy and, therefore, money and carbon emissions. Many of these require little or no cost, although others require some investment.

The Carbon Trust have also provided this useful Guide to Energy use in Swimming Pools.