For some regions in the U.S., swimming pools are summertime treats. For others in warmer climates, outdoor pools can be enjoyed all year. And, in homes and establishments lucky enough to have an indoor pool, swimming can be an activity enjoyed at any time, in any weather. Evidently, Americans love pools.
However enjoyable, swimming pools of all types and in all regions can have a negative impact on the environment. The chemicals, water, electricity, and fuel required to build and maintain pools drain resources both renewable and non-renewable.
While walking to a natural lake might be the best way to reduce swimmers’ carbon footprints, there are ways to make man-made pools a bit less harmful. If you own or manage a pool, try taking these three steps for a more eco-friendly swim.
1. Cut Back on Heating Costs
Heating is one of the biggest ways pools use energy– in fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for up to 56% of the energy used in American homes. Try ditching the pool heating system altogether, or look for a solar heater for renewably-sourced warmth in your pool water.
2. Use Fewer Chemicals
Many pool owners know that keeping a pool clean and clear is no easy task. Modern pool maintenance requires a variety of chemicals, including chlorine, which is used in 85% of pools to sanitize. Try cutting back on chlorine use for a less toxic pool, and for less packaging and manufacturing waste associated with chlorine production. If you’re thinking about building a pool, look into saltwater pools and other alternatives for more natural, less chemically polluted pool water that is still clean. If you can’t abandon chlorine Poolpricer points out that regular manual cleaning will reduce the need for intense chemical treatment in the first place.
3. Get a Variable-Speed Pump
Heating is not the only way pools consume energy. In order to stay clean, pools use filtration systems with pumps that push water through pipes and filters to remove dirt and debris. Often, these pumps run 12 hours a day at the same speed, even when the pool is not in use and when cleaning isn’t necessary. By installing a variable speed pump, owners can better manage when a pool’s pump is running, and how fast it operates. Owners can even set timers on variable speed pumps so that they turn off or go into lower settings automatically. By adjusting the pump to your pool’s specific needs, Sierraclub.org writes that you can save the environment and save money on your utility bills at the same time.
By following these three easy tips, you can enjoy your pool with a little less eco-guilt. Use less energy and fewer chemicals for a clean pool, and a clean natural environment.