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Chapter 9

Notes on heating swimming pools and energy conservation

It is usual practice to provide heating for indoor swimming pools, both for the pool water and for the pool hall, changing rooms etc. On the other hand, the heating of the water in open-air pools is rather less common in the UK. In the UK and countries with a similar climate, an open-air pool can only be used in reasonable comfort for about 4–5 months during the year, and during this period there are many days when only the most determined swimmers will be willing to use the pool unless the water is heated, and wind protection provided. The term pool heating means a properly designed and installed heating system connected to the water circulation system of the pool.

9.1 Heating open-air swimming pools
By far the greatest loss of heat is from the surface of the water, with only a comparatively small percentage through the walls and floor to the surrounding ground, unless the ground water level is high. See Section 4.15. The heat loss from the water surface depends on a large number of factors all of which, except one, are closely associated with weather conditions. The exceptional factor is whether the pool has a thermal insulating cover for use at night and other times when the pool is not in use. Weather conditions include ambient air temperature, wind velocity, and direction, hours of sunshine, all of which change during the day and from day to day. A formula which seeks to take into account all relevant factors may well turn out to be more inaccurate than a simplified version and experience. The simplified calculation which follows assumes that the pool is covered at night with a proper cover and thus the fall in temperature during the time when the heating is turned off is 3 °C. The calculation is intended as an illustration, and the selection of a suitable type of boiler should always be left to experienced firms. If the pool is 16.67 m long, 8.0 m wide with a minimum depth of 0.90 m and a maximum depth of 1.50 m, the water surface will be 133 m2 and the volume of water about 160 m3. When the boiler is switched on in the morning, it will be required to raise the temperature of the 160 m3 of water 3 °C in, say, 3 hours, i.e. 1 °C per hour. Boiler capacity, assuming 80% efficiency, is:

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the air temperature in the pool hall and changing rooms should be at least 1 °C above the water temperature.(160×l000×l. In Europe.3 Heating and ventilation of pool halls and adjoining areas 9. assuming this is not less than 26°C. In spite of the wide differences in design approach and client requirements. To this figure of 232 kWh should be added a percentage to cover heat loss during the warming-up period of. The heating of the water and the heating and ventilation of the pool hall and adjacent rooms are all part of the same problem which has to be resolved by experienced firms of consulting engineers. The ‘smell of Copyright 2000 Philip H Perkins . the water is usually maintained at about 32 °C. 2. 9.80=836 000 kJ=836 000÷3600=232 kWh (1 calorie=4. while in public pools in the UK it is 26–28 °C. thus making an estimated boiler capacity of say 245 kWh (or 924 000 Btu/hour). 5%.18 J). it is generally agreed that the following principles apply: 1. in hydrotherapy pools.1 General considerations For comfort. club and hotel pools.2 Heating the water in indoor swimming pools The temperature of the water in indoor swimming pools is generally higher than in open-air pools. a water temperature of 28 °C is considered a minimum. The boiler would be gas or oil fired. Mechanical ventilation is considered essential in indoor public swimming pools as it helps to control condensation and adds to the comfort of the pool users. This will help reduce. In private house. in public pools. See comments about roof construction in Chapter 7. In Europe. but will not eliminate the diffusion of ‘chlorine smell’ to other parts of the building when chlorine is used as the main disinfectant in the pool water. and floors of changing rooms. say. The details of heating and ventilating systems vary from one building to another and to the requirements of the client who is naturally concerned with both the capital cost and the operating costs. or by experienced and reliable contractors on a package deal basis. Condensation should be reduced to the maximum practical extent.3. Air pressure in the pool hall should be slightly lower than in adjoining areas so as to induce a flow of air towards the pool hall.00)×4. 9. the temperature is often 30 °C. it is quite usual to find that benches around the pool are heated and underfloor heating is provided to the walkways.18÷0.

and dichloramine. When chlorine is used as the main disinfecting agent in the pool water. The latent heat of the fusion of ice is about 80 calories (360 J) and the latent heat of evaporation of water is about 540 calories or 2260 J (2. 4. preferably in total. The air changes per hour (ventilation rate) will normally vary in different parts of the building. the air should not be recirculated. the annual cost of energy consumed can be reduced by a significant figure by the adoption of well-tried techniques. The main factor which controls the use of energy in maintaining satisfactory conditions in an indoor swimming pool is the evaporation of water from the pool surface.26 kJ). The energy used operates on two distinct levels.45 (W/m2K). but by chlorine compounds. For semi-exposed walls and floors.18 J. in a typical indoor public swimming pool. when the bodies are in direct contact. exposed floors and ground floors for industrial buildings should not exceed 0. the temperature remains constant. The unit of heat is the amount of heat required to raise 1 g of water 1 °C and is known as a calorie. but should be discharged. to the external air. All reasonable steps should be taken to reduce heat loss and thus reduce energy consumption. During the change of state (ice to water and water to steam). It has been established that the energy used at these two levels is over 60% of the total energy used for the whole building and its operation. the latent heat of the fusion of ice and the latent heat of evaporation. chlorine’ is not caused by the presence of elemental chlorine. the U value should not exceed 0. The Building Regulations 1985 Approved Document L Conservation of Fuel and Power requires that the U value of exposed walls.6 (W/m2K). There are two forms of heat. There are a number Copyright 2000 Philip H Perkins . 60– 70%. and the energy used by the mechanical ventilation system which is needed to reduce the relative humidity to an acceptable level. Heat can be transferred from one body to another by conduction. There is an excellent and comprehensive publication from the Energy Efficiency Office entitled Energy Efficiency Technologies for Swimming Pools (details are given under Further Reading at the end of this chapter). As far as heating and ventilation is concerned.3. Heat is a form of energy and exists in a body in the form of motion of the molecules. walls and roof have appropriate low U values. by convection through a liquid and by radiation by which heat can be transferred through a vacuum. the ventilation rate will be closely related to the area of the pool and the area of surrounding walkways as it is from these areas that evaporation takes place. It can be seen that the amount of heat energy required to convert water to vapour/ steam is very high. there are many systems available to conserve energy. The first principle is to ensure that the floor. It is claimed in this publication that. say. namely the heat used up in the evaporation process. such as nitrogen trichloride. For the pool hall. and this is equivalent to 4.

it requires an external source of power. A ‘simple’ heat exchanger will extract heat from warm air which is being discharged to waste. This can effect a saving of 10– 12% in the energy consumed. and heat reclaim uses heat pumps. electricity or gas.4 Solar heating of swimming pools The sun provides heat energy free of charge. 9. the closing down of the ventilation system can cause problems (see Sections 7. and the same principle applies to out-going and incoming water. Heat exchangers collect waste heat for reuse. the British Standards Institution published a Code of Practice for the Copyright 2000 Philip H Perkins . 2. a heat pump can be used to extract heat from a large volume of relatively cool water and use this heat to raise the temperature of a comparatively small volume of water. For example. The installation of an efficient system of energy conservation is said to reduce energy consumption for pool hall heating by up to about 30%. while heat pumps reclaim and regenerate heat from lower energy sources. it was not until the oil crisis of the early 1970s that serious attention was given to the possible use of solar heating for open-air swimming pools. In 1986. The reduction of the mechanical ventilation (rate of air change) when the pool is not in use and the pool hall not occupied. the only cost being that required to put this energy to practical use. The provision of a thermal insulating cover to the pool for use when the pool is not in use. a corresponding reduction in operating cost.3. A heat pump operates to extract heat from a low temperature heat source and up-grade it to a higher temperature. without external energy input. e. if the pool hall has a pressurised roof void.g. 9.14–7. 3. Heat pumps are ideal for heat energy conservation. The use of heat recovery and/or heat reclaim techniques. It appears that the large-scale use of solar energy to heat water for domestic use was probably started in Israel in the 1950s. More complex heat exchangers do the same thing but with an external energy source in addition. However. heat recovery uses heat exchangers.of methods which will make a material contribution to the conservation of energy and these include the following: 1. at night. to drive the compressor. 4.16). but working in the reverse. with of course. A heat pump is similar in principle to a refrigerator. and transfer this heat to fresh incoming air. As far as the UK is concerned. Accurate and effective control of temperature and humidity.2 Heat conservation techniques Briefly.

BS6785. Energy Data Sheets 1–21. The conventional system should be considered as a back-up to the solar heating. British Standards Institution. Protection of buildings from hazardous gases. it is necessary to install a conventional heating installation in addition to the solar heating. Sports Council. The solar collectors are in the form of panels made from a patented form of polypropylene which has a black matt surface. but for those people who like warmer water (the 23 °C is an average figure). 1993.A. Contrary to general opinion. Energy Efficiency Technologies for Swimming Pools. Further reading Acoustics & Environmetrics Ltd. No. The Building Regulations 1985. they have to be correctly sited and orientated. 1989. P. In addition. they are connected to the water circulation system of the pool. January 1985. this could average about 23 °C. The temperature of the water in an average unheated open-air pool in the UK during the four summer months (mid-May to mid-September) is likely to be about 18 °C. Approved Document L. The boiler can have a smaller output and the operating costs would show a considerable saving compared with an installation without solar heating.Solar Heating of Swimming Pools. 283–94. 7. pp. Department of the Environment. design and installation of equipment. Energy Efficiency Office and Sports Council. June. 1986. Code of Practice for the Solar Heating of Swimming Pools. With properly designed and installed solar heating. Conservation of Fuel and Power. This is undoubtedly very useful from the point of conservation of energy (fuel) and money. To secure the best results. The Code makes recommendations for components. The two systems should be controlled thermostatically to obtain the best results. Towler. Some Ways of Saving Energy—the Nature of Heat and Cold Energy. properly designed and installed solar panels can collect a significant amount of heat energy on overcast days. performance and commissioning. 1988. Copyright 2000 Philip H Perkins . Journal of the Institute of Water and Environmental Management. a great deal of useful information is included.