Phoenix, Arizona (PressExposure) August 08, 2008 -- Green's the new black, as the fashionistas of the world would say, and it's hitting the pool and spa runway full force. Energy-saving, eco-friendly products are making their way into the market, teasing dealers with trendier options and enticing homeowners to save a buck or two - not to mention the Earth. It's time to look into upgrading and revamping the pool and making way for the next generation of "greener" pastures.
"The average age of pools we are renovating is 15 to 20 years old," says Thomas Lopez, president of Aquavida Pools a Phoenix based pool remodeling company. "At that point in time, they didn't really offer any economical or efficient motors back then." But times have changed, and repair-driven renovations are now taking a backseat to lifting up the hood and replacing what's inside - because you want to, not because you have to.
Renovating a pool can be costly, especially if moving toward a more eco-friendly backyard. It's an investment, says Lopez, and one that not everyone is able to make.
Green makeovers are a smaller part of the renovations Aquavida Pools does, says Lopez, because of the financial investment Green pool renovations can cost anywhere from $225 to $12,000, adds Lopez, depending on what's being done.
One of the main consumer selling points of going green - besides being more eco-friendly, of course - is the financial payback. But the initial cost of the project can scare customers away from green renovations. In today's unstable economy, customers may have a hard time seeing beyond the bottom line and into the future.
Pump Magic For the consumer who has just started thinking about remodeling a pool, there is a good place to start that doesn't break the bank. "Probably the most economical approach is the basic industry-standard upgrade pump, an [energy efficient motor]," suggests Lopez. "The armatures in the motors consume less energy," adds Lopez, so at a minimum, he recommends customers doing this upgrade.
But for consumers who are able to put a little more investment into their renovations, Lopez recommends a programmable pump. While these pumps generally cost more than the standard upgrade, their payback is well worth it.
Energy consumption savings are astonishing: manufacturers estimate savings between 30 and 90 percent. Pentair Water Pool and Spa says its IntelliFlo High Performance Pump can offer homeowners a $324 to $1,356 savings in yearly utility costs.
Introduced by Pentair during the 2007 trade show season, the IntelliFlo is great for a multi-purpose system, says Lopez. Part of the company's Eco Select collection, the programmable, variable-speed pump relies on variable-drive technology controlled by an on-board computer to allow for custom programming to achieve optimum flow rates.
While it's still relatively new - and quite expensive - Lopez also recommends looking into a heat exchange system that draws heat collected by the concrete deck.
After reading about this system on the Internet, Lopez pulled the deck up at his personal pool and installed geothermal collectors between the deck and the dirt. "If you see the temperature rise, you are basically just exchanging the heat from the concrete directly to the pipes around the perimeter of the pool and then returning it back to the pool. You can get a temperature rise anywhere between 8 and 12 degrees."
A simpler renovation suggestion is a programmable time clock. Phoenix's swim season ends around the middle of October, says Lopez, but he notes that customers with a typical Intermatic time clock would still allow the pool to run on an eight-hour cycle, even during the off-season.
"So when you have a programmable time clock, you are able to put two program groups in it and set it to the exact day, so it will switch from group A to B, meaning summer and winter," adds Lopez. Oftentimes, Lopez groups the time clock with the standard energy-efficient motor, inviting customers to start with a small, yet affordable eco-friendly renovation.
Upgrading pool cleaners is also something manufacturers and retailers suggest during a renovation. Lopez suggests the Solar-Breeze solar-powered, robotic topical skimmer. The robot skims the pool's surface throughout the day, keeping dust and debris from sinking to the bottom of the pool, reducing the amount of time a pool pump would need to run, says the company.
Because the cleaner operates on solar energy and without pumps, electricity costs are estimated to be 2/3 less than usual, as well as a 1/3 reduction of chlorine use, according to Lopez.
"Almost every manufacturer has developed enhanced products with low Amperage or Solar products to decrease energy bills from homeowners and to increase the value of homes living green," says Lopez of Aquavida Pools.
Aquavida Pools has updated consumer information and Energy Saving tips for pool owners who are considering Arizona pool remodeling and shopping new pool resurfacing products in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding areas. Visit aquavidapools.com for more information on green swimming pool solutions.