Swimming Pool Insulation Regulations

Swimming Pool Insulation Regulations

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Pool Covers and Part L Regulations

With the first full publication of the Government’s Part L building regulations this year comes the usual swath of advice from eco-friendly zealots telling the industry what is and isn’t acceptable when attempting to conserve a swimming pools  fuel usage and energy. 

Now, I’m all for protecting the planet that my children and grandchildren will inhabit for many years to come, but the Government, in their infinite wisdom, have missed the point completely. Part L has NO legislation for covering the swimming pool in question. Let me re-iterate, insulation is required for all aspects of the swimming pool being constructed except the surface area!!!

Insulating the sides of the pool is, of course, important. It will ensure that up to 15% of the pool’s heat will be retained, ensuring valuable conservation of energy, but, and I’m sure you know where this is going, studies suggest that between 70-85% of heat loss, is from the pool’s surface.

It is estimated that it takes only 1 BTU to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit, but takes 1024 BTU to remove the same pound of water through latent heat loss when it evaporates from the surface. Latent heat is a hidden heat and is the energy absorbed or released when a substance changes its physical state. A good example of this is to lick your wrist and blow on it. When your wet skin dries the heat energy needed for evaporation is taken from your skin which gives the cooling feeling.

Although the government may have missed the point, the majority of pool installers haven’t. It is far more common to see a good quality, automatic cover included in the project costs and not necessarily because all pool installers are dyed in the wool, eco-warriors, far from it.  An automatic continuous membrane cover is a very important selling point for the installer with many benefits for the end user.

Research carried out in collaboration with the Brighton and London Metropolitan Universities proved that evaporation loss from an uncovered 8M x 4M pool in the UK, equates to approximately 32,000 litres per annum or one hell of a lot of end user BTU’s. A financial “no-brainer”, regardless of your eco-standpoint.

A continuous membrane cover will also act like a giant solar blanket for the pool, imparting heat into the water. Studies estimate that solar energy can generate as much as 1KW per metre squared per hour. To gain the maximum effect, it is important that the pool water is circulating, much like swirling bath water to mix the hot and cold together. A good example of solar energy is when you water the garden after the hose has been laying in the sun all day. The water is surprisingly warm due to the sun’s heat giving properties. A continuous membrane cover will deliver the same results to the pool water.

Another benefit for both the planet and the customers pocket is the retention of chemicals within the pool. No one truly know the damage chlorine may cause to the eco-system when degraded from the pool’s surface but if we assume it isn’t generally beneficial, a continuous membrane cover will stop this action completely when the pool is covered and bearing in mind the degradation of chlorine via photolysis is thought to be as high as 90% in a standard uncovered outdoor pool, the financial benefit for the end user is again, there for all to see.

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