An in-depth discussion as to the structural and practical elements that contribute to the most efficient overall pool designs possible such as shapes and contours, insulated sidewalls, full sun exposure, windbreaks, choice of materials for the shell of the pool and efficient plumbing layouts are beyond the scope of this discussion although not without individual and collective merit.
Anyone in the planning or dreaming stages of new pool design should invest the time and resources necessary to acquire some knowledge of their proposed undertaking and make themselves aware of the different approaches, technologies, and philosophies of modern pool design. Greater knowledge will precipitate your best overall chance at balancing aesthetics vs. efficiency, initial costs vs. long term savings, and mission derived design elements vs. cookie cutter pool designs.
I find it amazing that consumers will charge headstrong into a purchase and installation of a new pool doing little or no research about what the current trends are, placing their entire faith and decision-making process with the pool company. Often, a swimming pool is the second most valuable purchase a homeowner makes after their home. I’ve seen pools from 20k all the way up to 300k and more. A new car purchase warrants many hours of research on the internet, BBQ grill, several hours, new TV at least a few hours of research, a pool??? “We’ll just go by what the salesman recommends and my friend Joe knows something about pools too.” Maybe this is because there is so little on the internet about this topic or because it is so hard to find. I put this discussion out there to encourage readership, intelligent decision making, greener living alternatives and because I believe the internet should be a tool for humans to improve their lives and not just an advertising media.
The most efficiently run pools would strive to incorporate:
- A solar heating system professionally sized and automated.
- A variable flow permanent magnet motor pump or Low E optimized single speed pump.
- A multiple cartridge filter or oversized sand filter where water conservation is not an issue.
- 2-inch plumbing and intelligent manifolds with sweep elbows and full flow valves and check valves.
- An automatic cover (for gas-heated pools) or a custom cut-to-fit solar blanket (for solar-heated pools).
- An in-floor water return cleaning system (aids in heating and stirs bottom settling particulate in to suspension all without the need for an additional pump).
Efficiencies to Consider During the Planning Stages of a New Pool
The most efficient overall pool construction methods and designs are another matter and would better be served by a separate discussion. Suffice it to say that those in the planning stages of a new pool should be aware that there are specific choices that can and should be made in all aspects of their pool design.
Different types of pool construction yield wildly different efficiency results.
Select pool designs and wise appliance and equipment choices have the potential to save tens of thousands of dollars in operational costs, make for greater ease of cleaning and maintenance and exhibit a greatly reduced environmental impact or ‘carbon footprint’ during your pool’s lifespan.
Choosing a pool contractor should be largely based upon their awareness of these choices and their willingness to implement them as you see fit, and within your proposed budget.
One guarantee, universally accepted when designing and building a pool, is that smart efficient pool designs and equipment will cost more to build, upfront. As one adds such energy-saving measures as a variable speed, variable flow pump and controller, an automatic cover, a solar heating system and an electronic purification system your costs will quickly escalate. You can and will, however, expect to offset additional expenditures for equipment specifically engineered to reduce operating costs over time. The quicker these costs can be reduced and recovered, the more efficient and sustainable your pool design will have turned out to be.