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Eco-Friendly Pool: How to Transform Your Swimming Pool into an Eco-Friendly Oasis (2024)

How do you beat the heat in the spring and summer? Many people enjoy jumping into swimming pools to cool off when temperatures rise. However, these bits of backyard bliss are not known for being sustainable.

It’s no secret pools require a lot of water and energy to maintain. The high usage can negatively impact the planet, especially in areas prone to droughts. How can you make your pool more sustainable this season?

Dive into these eight tips for creating an eco-friendly pool so you can feel good about your swimming sessions. 

8 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Pool at Home This Summer

1. Build With Sustainable Materials

First, think about the materials you’ll use to build the pool. Many use concrete because it’s strong and durable, able to handle different weather conditions. It’s especially good for places with four seasons.

However, concrete presents problems for pool owners. It makes the pool porous and susceptible to cracks, stains, and deterioration. Concrete is also problematic for the environment. Research shows it causes 8% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions because of its energy-intensive production. 

Instead, opt for sustainable materials for pool construction. Nowadays, you can build pools with stone, stainless steel, and other eco-friendly options. Stone is more sustainable because it requires fewer resources to fabricate than concrete. Stainless steel resists rust, and you can recycle it if necessary. 

Eco-friendly Pool - Stock Image from Canva of a stone infinity pool

2. Reduce the Chlorine

Chlorine has been used to sterilize swimming pools for over a century. Brown University first sterilized a pool this way in 1910, and since then, it’s become the standard. Chlorine is an effective disinfectant, but it can harm the environment. 

Your pool’s chlorine likely contains chloramines and trihalomethanes. Your drainage or backwashing system could empty these substances into the environment, harming natural water bodies like rivers and oceans. Chloramine is toxic to fish because it damages gills and respiratory systems. 

Find alternatives to chlorine, such as bromine products. One of the main problems with chlorine is its volatility. Halogens are typically unstable and highly reactive because of their valence electrons. However, bromine is much more stable at high temperatures, making it ideal for your eco-friendly pool and hot tub. Bromine can be a little more expensive, but worth the money for sustainability. 

3. Start a Maintenance Schedule

Treat your swimming pool like the car in your garage and put it on a maintenance schedule. Regular treatment helps your pool stay clean and work efficiently throughout the spring and summer. A maintenance schedule also helps with sustainability. 

You should regularly clean the water filters. Take a few minutes daily to cleanse them so you won’t have to depend as much on chemicals in your pool. Chemicals keep your pool clean, but you risk irritating your skin and eyes if you use too much. 

Regular filter cleanings also improve other facets of your pool. A clean filter means your pool has optimal water flow, and your pump doesn’t have to work as hard, consuming less energy. Maintenance schedules are necessary to identify problems with the filter and pump. Deterioration of these parts makes your pool inefficient.  

Eco-friendly Pool - Stock Image from Canva of man and his dog cleaning a swimming pool with a net

4. Convert to Saltwater

Most people use chlorinated water for their swimming pools. Though it’s popular, more sustainable options are available. For example, you could convert your pool to saltwater, which eliminates the need for chlorine additives. The water is much softer and easier on your skin.

You can install a saltwater chlorinator. This device dissolves salt into the water, producing chlorine naturally — otherwise known as electrolysis. During this process, the chlorinator splits salt molecules in half. These systems suit the environment, and you can further increase your sustainability. Get chlorinators with automatic timers that learn your usage patterns. 

5. Replace the Lightbulbs

Are you thinking about having nighttime pool parties? Some climates make midday swims too hot because of dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays. Waiting until the sun goes down may be your best bet. Many people use lights in and around the pool to increase visibility, enhance the ambiance, and set the mood for fun parties. 

Consider switching the bulbs in your pool lights from incandescent to LEDs. LED bulbs are environmentally friendly because they can last 20 times longer than incandescents. Incandescent R-450 bulbs last about 2,000 hours on average. However, LED pool lights have a life of 50,000 hours. LEDs are also much brighter, increasing visibility in the pool.

Eco-friendly Pool - Stock Image from Canva of lights under water in a swimming pool

6. Use a Solar Heater

You may have a heater for your pool if you live where this is needed, but generating heat can quickly increase utility bills and power consumption. The warm water is pleasant and relaxing, but how can you make it more energy efficient? One method is to use a solar heater. 

Solar water heaters are terrific systems because they harness the sun’s energy instead of drawing from the power grid. The system collects water from the pool, heats it, and returns it. Also, you can use solar heaters to cool the pool in the summer. Check federal and state incentives to see if you can get tax rebates for installing one in your eco-friendly pool. 

7. Install an Efficient Pool Pump

Think about all the systems your pool needs to function. Which one do you think uses the most electricity? It’s your pool pump. This device is critical because it pulls water to filter, treat and heat. In return, you get clean and warm water to enjoy. However, older systems can increase energy consumption, so installing a newer, more efficient one is essential. 

Energy-efficient pool pumps benefit pool owners because they reduce operating costs over time. Modern pumps have advanced features like variable speed operation and programmable timers. These features let you set the schedule for your pump. Many devices have hydraulic systems that maximize water flow and minimize energy loss. Plus, they’re quieter, making your summertime parties more enjoyable for you and your guests. 

If you can’t get a new pool pump, there are ways you can tweak your current one for sustainability. For example, you can wait until off-peak hours to run the pool pump and reduce strain on the electrical grid. Off-peak periods are generally in the middle of the day and late at night. 

8. Cover When Not Using

The last tip is to use a cover when you’re not using the pool. This step sounds simple but goes a long way in sustainability. First, it reduces water evaporation. Many pools lose water because it turns into vapor and leaves the surface. Pool covers minimize evaporation — helpful if the city imposes water restrictions. 

You can utilize solar pool covers to keep heat in your pool at night. This technology reduces the need for traditional heaters and prevents evaporation. Choose from solar rings, liquid solar covers, and rectangular blankets to protect your pool. 

Take a look at this video by Swim University for more about solar pool covers:

Wrapping up: Swim in an Eco-friendly Pool This Summer

Swimming pools are a terrific addition to any home or community center in the summer. You’ll have access to aquatic fun and excellent ways to beat the heat. 

One caveat about having a pool is your water and energy consumption. Use these eight tips to make your summer more fun and environmentally friendly with an eco-friendly pool. Your wallet and the planet will thank you later!


Frequently Asked Questions

How are swimming pools sustainable?

Using advanced technology like solar power and energy-efficient systems makes swimming pools sustainable. Simple changes like swapping incandescent bulbs for LEDs lower your power consumption and energy bills. Sustainable pools also employ water conservation practices — especially in drought-prone areas. Read the full guide to learn more about making your pool more sustainable.

What kind of swimming pool is best for the environment?

Some pools have specific designs to be environmentally friendly. For example, owners may use moss-filtered pools to reduce chemical usage. Another alternative is a natural pool constructed with gravel instead of concrete. They lessen the need for chemicals and the energy required for maintenance. Read the full guide to learn more about making your pool eco-friendly.

How do you maintain a swimming pool without chemicals?

Chemicals clean pools, but you can maintain yours without them. For example, you can use natural filtration systems. These devices remove dirt and debris from the pool without relying on chemicals. Also, consider natural clarifiers to make the water clear without chemicals. Read the full guide to learn more about maintaining a chemical-free swimming pool at home.

References and Useful Resources

Montclair State University: History of Chlorine as a Swimming Pool Sanitizer Solar Swimming Pool Heaters

Guardian: Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

National Library of Medicine: Bromine

Modded: 5 Summer Grilling Ideas for Your Barbecue

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