Case Study: Pooled Energy’s Automation System Reduces a Pool’s Big Energy Bills
Case Study written and published by Pool & Spa Magazine. Download the pdf here.
Weighing in at 250,000 L, this huge pool — five times the size of the average residential pool — came with a huge electricity bill. Serviced by two undersized filters, each with its own 1600 W pump, the pool accounted for more than 40% of the entire household’s energy consumption.
The original 30 g/h salt chlorinator and pool cleaner were not sufficient for a pool this size and couldn’t handle the large leaf load from surrounding trees, forcing the owner to make many trips to the pool shop for supplemental chlorine and acid.
“I was making so many trips that the chemicals started to affect the boot of my car and the wire brushing of the persistent black spot algae damaged the pool surface,” the pool owner said.
In frustration, he shut the pool down for the winter months — an arduous task requiring several intensive days’ work and several hundreds of dollars of chemicals to recover the pool each time. This was complicated by the fact that the pool was old and the finish on the walls was delicate and already damaged.
When the environmentally conscious pool owner bought himself a Tesla — a luxury electric car — he decided things needed to change with his pool, too. Not just for the sake of the environment, but also for the sake of his new car boot!
Pooled Energy updated the old equipment with correctly sized filters and salt chlorinators, and changed the plumbing around the filters for better flow. The company then automated the pool by installing its proprietary Intelligent Pool Controller, sensors for water quality chemistry and electricity use, and true variable speed pumps. The pool was also converted to Pooled Energy’s proprietary Advanced Water Chemistry.
With the Pooled Energy system, the pool’s energy consumption has dropped from approximately 40% of the household’s energy use to about 14%. The pool owner says the water is now “genuinely spectacular”. Operation is automatic and chemicals and salt only need to be added once a year (or twice if there is a lot of dilution from rain). There is no requirement for top-up chlorine and the pool owner is making large savings on chemicals. The Intelligent Pool Controller connects via cellular radio or Wi-Fi to Pooled Energy’s Network Operating Centre in the cloud. Instead of running dumbly from time clocks and doing the same thing every day, the Intelligent Pool Controller sets the pool to run based on the time of day, time of year, water chemistry, bather load, cost of power, forecasted weather and the technical state of the grid.
The system’s true variable speed pumps change their speed as required by operating conditions and the cleanliness of the filter. (Pooled Energy contends that what is commonly known as ‘variable speed’ in the pool industry should be more correctly termed ‘settable speed’, as these pumps do not adapt to the requirements of the pool, minute by minute, as Pooled Energy’s pumps do.)
An app shows the pool status, allows override control and semi automates the backwashing. Pooled Energy advises when backwashing is required and when chemicals need replenishing, sending out what is needed by courier once or twice a year.
Backwashing is required only every eight weeks or so and takes just five minutes. The pool owner does still need to clean out the skimmer boxes and the cleaner bag, but otherwise the pool is hands-off between backwashes. Importantly, the Advanced Water Chemistry has eliminated the need for pool acid, as it does for all but brand new pools with very chemically active surfaces. The pool now operates at its natural pH, the regular green and swampy events are a thing of the past, the water quality is excellent — and the boot of the new Tesla is safe.
The combination of true variable speed and internet optimisation greatly reduces energy use, chemicals, hassle and time, resulting in an automated pool with great water quality, Pooled Energy says.
The owner is delighted with the pool, as well as the electricity savings. “Excellent service. The pool water condition is the best it’s ever been,” he said.
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