For Earth Day April 22, 2012 I thought I'd write about how you can make the swimming pool just a little more green while staying blue.
The most common argument by those that want to be environmentally friendly is that the swimming pool is entirely unnecessary and that one should not have one.
Yes, the swimming pool is a luxury item that is a discretionary purchase but one needs to weigh the full pros and cons before passing judgement.
Cocooning - As I describe in my last article, The Trifecta of Conditions For a Great Swimming Pool Season, consumers are being faced with market conditions that make it very palatable to invest in their house to cocoon at home. High gas prices, low interest rates and strong consumer confidence are good reasons to add value to the home by adding a swimming pool. From an environmental stand point, staying at home creates a lower carbon footprint.
Less gas - No gas is used for travelling, whether to vacation in another country, cross country or to the cottage. At a $1.39 / litre the best fuel economy is not to burn any at all.
Cottage vs boat vs pool - Assuming you are looking to spend that discretionary income to entertain the family and you want to be environmentally conscious the swimming pool is a pretty good choice. With a cottage you essentially double your residence, two buildings, two properties to maintain, two lawn mowers, two rakes, two fridges, two stoves, etc you get the point. Add to this the gas to commute every weekend and the costs of utilities and taxes the value of a backyard pool is overwhelming. A boat could give your family lots of fun on the weekends but if you start to breakdown the comparative costs, a pool to me gives better value.
Air conditioning or a quick dip? - I've spoken to many pool owners that either don't use air conditioning or keep it at a higher setting and use the pool to cool off.
Athletic Activity or video games - Given the choice between indoor activities like video games or television or some pool activities like volley ball or Marco polo swimming not only uses less electricity but improves your health.
A greener built pool - New advances in technology have created highly energy efficient variable speed pumps and filtration systems that give you better circulation with less energy consumption. Add to this a better plumbed pool using 2" lines rather than 1 1/2" lines and a reduction in tees and elbows to reduce friction loss. Innovative equipment like the Multicyclone 50 Centrifugal Filter uses no replacement filter media and reduces waste water use significantly or a high efficiancy vacuum tube solar heater all can make the pool have a minimum impact on the environment.
No sanitizer? - There are some builders that specialize in creating a natural swimming pool that they say does not need a sanitizer. Looking at the schematics and end product, it appears to be a fancy pond. I disagree that you can eliminate the need for a sanitizer. You have to be able to kill bacteria and viruses and a pond system won't do that for you.
In my opinion a swimming pool can definatly be a green choice, have a good Earth Day.