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FINAL

Swimming pools and electric space heating The case for coverage by the Building Code of Australia

January 2009 Prepared for the Australian Building Codes Board by George Wilkenfeld and Associates

GEOR GE WILKENFELD AND ASSOC IATES Pty Lt d EN ERGY POLICY AND PLANNING CONSULTAN TS PO Box 934 Newtown NSW 2042 Sydney Australia Tel (+61 2) 9565 2041

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

Contents
Summary........................................................................................................................... 3 Swimming pools ....................................................................................................... 3 Public Pools .............................................................................................................. 4 Electric Resistance Space Heating ........................................................................... 7 1. Background................................................................................................................... 9 1.1 The BCA and Energy- and Water-efficiency ........................................................ 9 1.2 This Paper ............................................................................................................... 9 Swimming pools ..................................................................................................... 10 Electric Resistance Space Heating ......................................................................... 10 1.3 Swimming Pools ................................................................................................... 10 2. Domestic Swimming Pools ........................................................................................ 12 2.1 Number, and type of pools .................................................................................. 12 2.2 Energy and Water Impacts .................................................................................. 15 2.3 Elements of energy use ........................................................................................ 16 Pumping .................................................................................................................. 16 Sanitisation, timers and controllers ........................................................................ 17 Heating ................................................................................................................... 17 2.4 Standards and levels of efficiency ....................................................................... 18 2.5 Potential Role for BCA ....................................................................................... 19 3. Shared and Public Pools ............................................................................................. 21 3.1 Type and number of pools ................................................................................... 21 3.2 Energy and Water Impacts .................................................................................. 22 3.3 Elements of energy use ........................................................................................ 24 Pool water management and conditioning ............................................................. 24 Heating and Ventilation of Pool Buildings ............................................................ 25 User amenities ........................................................................................................ 25 3.4 Potential Role for BCA ....................................................................................... 26 4. Fixed Electric Resistance Space Heating ................................................................... 27 4.1 Types of Fixed Electric Resistance Heating......................................................... 27 Underfloor (slab) heating..................................................................................... 29 Heat banks .............................................................................................................. 30 4.3 Potential Role for BCA ....................................................................................... 31 References .................................................................................................................. 34 Appendix 1: California Title 24 Requirements: Swimming Pools............................. 35

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

Summary
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is becoming increasingly involved in areas of design that impact on the on-going energy use of buildings. The main rationale is to address market failures. Many of the parties who plan and construct new buildings have a reduced incentive to incorporate design features and services which could costeffectively reduce lifetime operating costs, because it will be the ultimate buyer, occupant or tenant who will meet those costs. The impending implementation of the Australian Governments Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is expected to lead to higher energy prices. This will strengthen the case for the BCA to incorporate provisions which increase the energyefficiency of buildings, because the financial costs of the failure of the market to provide the most cost-effective level of building efficiency will be higher. The BCA could raise the stringency of standards, or add provisions for building types and services not yet covered. This study was commissioned by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Office to review the case for BCA coverage of: swimming pool and spa pool energy use (and the emissions related to that energy use); and fixed electric resistance space heating.

Swimming pools Swimming pools are energy- and water-intensive structures. In 2007 about 945,000 Australian households (11.7% of the total) had a swimming pool, and swimming pools and spa pools accounted for about 3.3% of total household electricity use: more than clothes dryers and dishwashers combined. In the homes which had a pool, it was almost always the largest single electricity user, averaging 1,930 kWh per year, compared with 720 kWh per year for refrigeration. The great majority of pool electricity use was for filtration pumping. Pools and spas in hotels typically account for 4% to 8% of the total building energy use, and in apartment buildings they typically account for 10% to 20% of common area energy use. Aquatic centres are among the most energy-intensive of building types, with energy per floor area typically 5 times that of office buildings. These statistics indicate that including the energy use or energy-efficiency of swimming pools in the BCA deserves consideration. Constructed swimming pools or spa pools are usually subject to local government planning approval, which represents a point at which BCA compliance could be enforced. However, council requirements vary for stand-alone spa pools brought to site as complete assemblies they may be listed as a complying development, exempt development or not specifically mentioned at all. Therefore the full effectiveness of any BCA provisions related to stand-alone spa pools is subject to uncertainty.

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

There are no accepted measures or standards of overall energy performance for domestic swimming pools, and performance can vary significantly with the owners settings and preferences. Therefore there is no basis to adopt energy design standards for entire swimming pool systems, or to test whether those standards are achieved in designs or even in post-construction operation. It is however possible to set performance standards for selected pool components, and to require design features which are known to lower energy use in operation. The NSW BASIX scheme requires a BASIX certificate for swimming pools and/or spas with a combined volume of 40,000 litres or more. The applicant must enter data on volume, location (indoors/outdoors), method of water heating if any, and whether outdoor pools are shaded or equipped with a pool cover. Electric resistance heating is not permitted for swimming pools. The California Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings go considerably further than BASIX, in that they impact on the actual hydraulic design of the pool, pump efficiency, pump control strategy and heater efficiency. An Australian Standard for testing and energy efficiency rating and labelling of swimming pool pumps is near completion. The Standard will also contain a minimum energy performance standard (MEPS) level which will be relatively low, at least initially. Subject to passing a regulatory impact assessment, it is envisaged that the Standard will be made mandatory under State legislation, in the same way as other appliance labelling and MEPS standards. The Commonwealth-State Equipment Energy Efficiency Program has also undertaken to sponsor the development of a method of test and a rating system for gas pool heaters. There is a case for including the following provisions in the BCA at the earliest opportunity (subject to formal cost-benefit analysis): 1. Requirements for pipe sizes and layout which reduce resistance to water flow, and so reduce the energy requirement for filtration pumping (eg 50 mm minimum pipe diameters and gradual bends rather than 90 elbows); 2. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heating for swimming pools. (As very few electric resistance heaters are used on swimming pool heating, this is large a preventative measure). This leaves the alternatives of unboosted solar, gas and heat pump water heating; 3. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heating for stand-alone spa pools (other than single-phase electric resistance heaters built into the recirculation systems of fully assembled stand-alone spa pools, or electric boosting of solar water heaters). This leaves the alternatives of solar, gas and heat pump water heating; 4. A requirement that all heated spa pools meet a specified level of thermal insulation, and be fitted with removable covers that also meet a specified level of thermal insulation. This should apply to both stand-alone and constructed spa

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

pools, if these can be covered by the BCA (if not, appliance energy efficiency standards should be developed for stand-alone spas); 5. A requirement that all swimming pools equipped with heating (of any type) be fitted with a removable pool cover, whether the pool is indoors or outdoors; 6. A requirement that all swimming pools and spa pools be installed with one or more user-adjustable timers or other control devices which limit or manage the hours of pump operation. (As very few pumps are installed without timers, this formalises prevailing practice). There may be a case in future for including the following provisions in the BCA: 7. Minimum energy efficiency levels for pump-units, that may be higher than the general MEPS levels adopted for those products. This should be considered once mandatory energy labelling and MEPS is implemented for pump-units, and sufficient information is collected on the sales-weighted energy-efficiency of pump-units installed in new pools; 8. Minimum energy efficiency levels for gas pool heaters, that may be higher than the general MEPS levels adopted for those products. This should be considered once mandatory energy labelling and MEPS is implemented for gas pool heaters, and sufficient information is collected on the energy-efficiency of pool heaters units installed in new pools; 9. Requirements for pump-unit configurations and control strategies to limit power and rates of flow and to prevent the installation of over-sized filtration pumps which would operate at low efficiency much of the time (as in California). These issues should be reviewed from time to time as information accumulates. Public Pools Public pools, which are open to all users, range from single unheated outdoor swimming pools run by a municipality to multiple Olympic standard pools enclosed within large buildings, or aquatic centres. Shared pools are typically controlled by a buildings owner or body corporate, and are for the use of any authorised person: eg swimming pools in the common areas of apartment buildings or hotels, where the condition of use may be tenancy of an apartment or being a guest at the hotel. Although there are no comprehensive data, it is estimated that there could be 1,000 to 1,500 public pool complexes in Australia, many with more than one swimming pool. It is also estimated that there could be 8,000 to 10,000 shared swimming associated with apartment buildings, hotels, clubs and fitness centres. Shared and public pools use energy for the same main purposes as domestic pools: water filtration, sanitisation and heating. However, the amount of energy used per pool

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

is much higher because average water volume is higher, bather loads are high and the sanitisation standards for public pools have to meet public health regulations. In effect public and shared pools need to be sanitised and filtered continuously while open to the public, as distinct from domestic pools, where filters and sanitisers only need to operate 15% to 25% of the time, even in the swimming season. The information about water and energy use in public pools in Australia is rather limited, although several studies currently under way should improve this situation during 2009. Information about shared pools in hotels and apartment buildings is even more limited. In general, the same energy and water uses are present in public pools and the buildings which house them as for domestic pools, but on a much larger scale and designed for high intensity of use. There are however several important differences in design approach: Public pool design tends to involve engineers, architects and other building professionals, whereas domestic pools tend to be designed by builder-packagers; Many clients commissioning public pools are well aware of the high operating costs, and will instruct designers accordingly, whereas very few domestic pool clients are aware of this; Public pools must meet a range of stringent and regularly enforced health standards, some of which are quite prescriptive in terms of sanitisation and water turnover, whereas the standards for domestic pools are in effect advisory and not enforceable; Many public pools are housed in buildings, or parts of buildings, which have high service requirements and energy use of their own and interact with the general building services in complex ways (some of which offer opportunities, eg use of waste heat). Very few domestic pools are in this situation.

There is a case for including the following provisions in the BCA at the earliest opportunity (subject to formal cost-benefit analysis): 10. Definition of a distinct class of non-domestic swimming pools and spa pools that correspond to the definition of public pools used in health regulations; 10. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heaters for public swimming pools or spa pools. The alternatives would include solar (unboosted, electricboosted or gas-boosted), gas, heat pump or waste heat; 11. A requirement that all public spa pools be fitted with insulating covers and have a minimum level of thermal insulation; 12. A requirement that all public swimming pools equipped with heating (of any type) be fitted with a removable pool cover, whether the pool is indoors or outdoors;

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

As nearly all public pools would have special design requirements which are likely to involve engineers or other specialists, general design provisions relating to pipe sizes or controls, which are appropriate for domestic pools, are not appropriate for public pools. There are at present no general Australian energy or water performance standards for public pools, for buildings housing public pools (eg Class 9) or the parts of buildings housing public pools (eg parts of Class 2 or 3). There are several projects under way to gather data on which such performance standards could be based. Even if performance standards were developed, it would also be necessary to develop methods of predicting performance so that compliance with those standards could be established. It may then also be possible to establish deemed to satisfy provisions: eg the recovery of heat from moist air ventilated from the pool hall. There may be a case for including such provisions in the BCA in future, and these issues should be reviewed from time to time as information accumulates. Electric Resistance Space Heating Electric resistance heating is currently the most greenhouse gas-intensive means of space and water heating, even though it is close to 100% efficient at the point of conversion. This is because the great majority of electricity generated in Australia is from the combustion of coal, leading to high emissions and low conversion efficiency at the power stations. Despite the CPRS, the average emissions intensity of electricity supplied in Australia is still projected to be about 75% of todays levels by 2030. Electric resistance heaters have the advantage of flexibility of location, since no pipes or flues are necessary. The relatively low capital costs can make electric resistance space heating attractive to home builders where some form of fixed heating is required. The main disadvantages are high running costs and high greenhouse gas-intensity. Electric heaters up to 2.4 kW output can be plugged into a power-point, whether or not the heater is fixed to the structure or portable. Larger capacity units need fixed wiring, so need to be installed by a qualified person. The effectiveness of BCA coverage of plug-in fixed electric heaters is likely to be limited, because any provisions can be easily circumvented by simply fixing the heaters after completion and plugging them in. The only types of electric resistance heater that could be effectively covered are: Heaters which are part of the building fabric, eg physically integrated into the floor, wall or ceiling, rather than fixed to their surface; and/or Hard-wired heaters, which may not be connected to the electricity supply by a standard power point, because they draw more than 10 amps, and/or require a 3phase supply, or for safety reasons.

These definitions would cover electric slab and underfloor heating, and heat banks, both of which are relatively rare in existing buildings, and probably even more so in new ones. It has been suggested that if electric storage water heaters are excluded from new

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

dwellings on the grounds of greenhouse gas-intensity, then so should electric storage space heaters. This does not necessarily follow. Water heaters deliver a highly standardised service so qualitative differences between types and energy forms are small. As users have no strong preferences (other than not running out of hot water), they are usually content to leave the decision to the builder or other intermediary: this accounts for the split incentive market failures which the BCAs requirements for water heaters are intended to address. Space heaters, on the other hand, deliver outputs that are qualitatively different. People have strong preferences for convection, conduction or radiant forms of heating, for real flames (or flame effects), and even for different fuels. It is especially likely that preferences will come into play when selecting electric heaters that are more expensive to buy and install (as is the case with slab heating and heat banks) and less costly to run. This is the opposite of the water heating case, where lack of user involvement tends to lead to the outcome with the lowest capital cost but higher running cost. The diverse and specialised nature of space heating also means that there are no direct non-electric alternatives for many electric resistance heaters, unlike electric water heaters, where the obvious alternatives are solar-boosted electric and heat pumps even before considering other fuels. While there does not appear to be a case for the BCA to set performance requirements that would prohibit the installation of fixed and hard wired electric resistance heating, there may be a case for requiring design elements and features which would reduce the risk of energy waste from such systems. The BCA already requires mandatory underslab and slab-edge insulation where in-slab heating is to be installed. Other provisions could include: 14. For in-slab and under-floor electric resistance heating: a. mandatory zoning, so that heating to each space can be switched separately b. all zones to be controllable by timers or programmable controllers and thermostats c. maximum power loads, eg 110W/m2 for living areas and 150 W/m2 for bathrooms. 15. All heat banks to have a mandated maximum rate of heat loss into the space (eg 200W) when fully charged and when all baffles are closed and all fans are off, to reduce the risk that heat would have to be vented from the room under warmer than expected conditions. *****

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

1. Background
1.1 The BCA and Energy- and Water-efficiency
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is becoming increasingly involved in areas of design that impact on the on-going energy use of buildings. The main rationale is to address market failures. Many of the parties who plan and construct new buildings have a reduced incentive to incorporate design features and services which could costeffectively reduce lifetime operating costs, because it will be the ultimate buyer, occupant or tenant who will meet those costs. Because of their longevity, buildings also represent a social good. While no single occupant or owner may be in a position to recover all the benefits of initial investments in efficiency, the total benefit accruing to all successive owners, users and occupants over the buildings lifetime can justify higher initial investment in efficient resource use. For these reasons, the BCA has incorporated a number of requirements related to the energy-efficiency of domestic and non-domestic buildings, commencing with minimum thermal performance standards, water heater requirements and (for non-domestic buildings), lighting and some mechanical services. The extension of lighting standards to Class 1 buildings and the revision of water heater provisions are also possibilities for the future. The impending implementation of the Australian Governments Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is expected to lead to higher energy prices. This will strengthen the case for the BCA to incorporate provisions which increase the energyefficiency of buildings, because the financial costs of the failure of the market to provide the most cost-effective level of building efficiency will be higher. This could mean raising the stringency of standards, or adding provisions for building types and services not yet covered. With the establishment of the CPRS, national greenhouse gas emissions will be capped (at levels still to be determined), so greater energy efficiency or the use of less greenhouse-intensive form of energy in new buildings are not likely to reduce emissions further below the cap. Reducing the demand for energy and hence emission permits, however, will lower the adjustment costs for the economy as a whole, and financially benefit building owners and occupants by limiting their exposure to rising energy prices. As energy costs will increasingly reflect the greenhouse-intensity of energy sources, the projected greenhouse impact of building services is still one of the most useful metrics for comparing options.

1.2 This Paper


This study was commissioned by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Office to review the case for BCA coverage of: swimming pool and spa pool energy use (and the emissions related to that energy use); and

Swimming Pools Electric Space Heating

fixed electric resistance space heating.

Swimming pools This study covers both domestic and non-domestic swimming pools and spa pools. It considers: The estimated magnitude of energy use and related emissions; Categories of swimming pools and swimming pool equipment; Common design approaches used in swimming pools and spa pools; The need for and practicality of including provisions related to design and energy use in the BCA.

Electric Resistance Space Heating There may be merit in preventing the installation of electric resistance water heating in new buildings, on the grounds of the high associated greenhouse gas emissions. The same principles and arguments could also be applied to electric resistance in-slab and underfloor heating, and also to fixed electric space heating, where a resistance element heats air within a heating unit that is fixed to the building structure. This paper review the case for, and practicality of, excluding these forms of heating through provisions in the BCA.

1.3 Swimming Pools


The BCA defines a swimming pool as any excavation or structure containing water and used principally for swimming, wading, paddling, or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa. Australian Standards1 define a swimming pool as follows: A swimming pool includes any waterslide, wave pool, hydrotherapy pool or other similar structure designed for human use, other than (a) a spa pool or spa bath (unless part of the pool system); or (b) a tidal pool or other similar structure where water flows in and out according to the operation of natural forces. A spa pool is defined as: A water-retaining structure designed for human use (a) that is capable of holding more than 680 litres of water; and
1

These definitions are used in a number of Standards, including the forthcoming Performance of Electrical Appliances Swimming Pool Pump-Units (currently DR 8632).

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(b) that incorporates, or is connected to, equipment that is capable of heating any water contained in it and injecting air bubbles or water into it under pressure so as to cause water turbulence. Domestic swimming pools fall within Class 10 of Volume 2 of the BCA: non-habitable buildings and structures. At present BCA Volume 2 covers access arrangements for swimming pools (ie enclosures and gates) and measures to avoid the entrapment of persons in the water recirculation system. Swimming pools and spa pools that are parts of non-domestic buildings (eg Class 2 or 3) are covered by Volume 1 of the BCA, which covers access arrangements, measures to avoid entrapment of persons in the water recirculation system, and drainage and disposal of water. An aquatic centre could be a stand-alone Class 10 structure, or could consist of one or more swimming pools within a Class 9 (Assembly) building. Swimming pools are energy- and water-intensive structures. Where domestic swimming pools are installed they usually represent the highest single consumer of electricity in the household. Pools and spas in hotels typically account for 4% to 8% of the total building energy use, and in apartment buildings they typically account for 10% to 20% of common area energy use. Aquatic centres are among the most energyintensive of building types, with energy per floor area typically 5 times that of office buildings (Carbon Trust 2008). These statistics indicate that including the energy use or energy-efficiency of swimming pools in the BCA deserves consideration.

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2. Domestic Swimming Pools


2.1 Number, and type of pools
The ABS reports that in 2007 about 945,000 Australian households (11.7% of the total) had a swimming pool (Figure 1, Figure 2). Swimming pool ownership is projected to rise to nearly 14% by 2020, by which time there would be about 1.24 million pools (EES 2008). The rate of pool ownership is highest in the warmer parts of Australia (Queensland, NT and WA) and lowest in the coolest parts (Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania). The rate of pool ownership in NSW appears to be falling slowly, although the State still has more pools than any other (Figure 3). A small proportion of swimming pools have an inbuilt spa pool, ie one that shares a water recirculation system with the main pool. Separate or stand-alone spa pools are also becoming more common. About 1.4% of homes had a stand-alone spa pool in 2007, and this is projected to rise to about 1.7% on 2020. The distinction between swimming pools and spa pools are not always clear. In some cases householders who would otherwise have installed a swimming pool are now installing spa pools, because declining block sizes and larger house floor areas limit the land area available for pools. Smaller swimming pools (and larger spa pools) are sometimes fitted with powerful swim jet pumps which create sufficient water flow for swimming on the spot. Although swimming pools are generally larger (averaging about 50,000 litres) there are now spa pools of up to 25,000 litres, about the same volume as small swimming pools. About 88% of swimming pools are in-ground, while the great majority of stand-alone spa pools are above ground (BIS 2006). About three quarters of in-ground pools are insitu concrete and the rest fibreglass; usually rigid liners brought to site and buried. Above-ground swimming pools may be constructed using flexible liners, or brought to site as rigid assemblies. Above-ground spa pools are usually factory-made assemblies complete with pumps, heaters and decorative external cladding. Most domestic swimming pools are installed some time after the construction of the dwelling. Two thirds of pool owners reported having made the decision to install their pool, while a third reported that it had come with the house (BIS 2006). Constructed swimming pools or spa pools are usually subject to local government planning approval, which represents a point at which BCA compliance could be enforced. However, council requirements vary for stand-alone spa pools brought to site as complete assemblies they may be listed as a complying development, exempt development or not specifically mentioned at all.2 Therefore the full effectiveness of any BCA provisions related to stand-alone spa pools is subject to uncertainty.

Swimming Pools and Spas Association of NSW (SPASA), personal communication, January 2009.

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18% 16% 14% % of Households, Australia 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 With swimming pool (calc) With separate spa pool (calc)

With swimming pool (ABS)

Figure 1 Historical and projected ownership of swimming pools, Australia

1600

1400

1200 Number of pools ('000) Stand-alone spas 1000

800

Swimming pools with spas

600 Swimming pools no spas 400

200

0 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020

Figure 2 Number of swimming pools and stand-alone spas, Australia

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35%

30%

25%

20%

NSW Vic Qld SA WA Tas NT ACT Aust

15%

10%

5%

0% 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Figure 3 Ownership of swimming pools by State

4000

Useful energy (all forms) for heating separate spas

3500

Gas (delivered) for heating pools/inbuilt spas

3000

Separate spa standby

2500 GWh per year


Separate spa pumps

2000
Pool standby and timers

1500
Inbuilt spa pumps

1000
Chlorine cells

500
Solar heater pumps

0 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020
Filter pumps

Figure 4 Energy use of domestic swimming pools and spa pools

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2.2 Energy and Water Impacts


The main uses of energy in swimming pools and spa pools are: Filtration pumping: about 90% of swimming pools have a filtration pump which operates for several hours each day as long as the pool is filled. Most users extend pump operating hours during the swimming season and shorten them during the offseason. Sanitisation: about 60% of all pools (and the great majority of new pools) have an electrolytic cell which breaks salt added to the water down to free chlorine. A small proportion of pools use other means of automatic sanitisation such as chlorine dosers, and the remainder rely on manual dosage of granular or liquid chlorine. Water heating: about a third of all swimming pools (and all spa pools, by definition) have some form of heating. The most common form of heating for swimming pools is solar water heating, which uses energy for pumping (unlike solar domestic hot water, there is no boosting). The most common form of inbuilt heating for smaller spa pools is electric resistance heating, and larger spa pools often use natural gas water heating.

Other energy uses include spa jets and swim jets (generally used only when the pool is occupied), timers and control gear, underwater lighting and maintenance uses such as pool cleaning. Most cleaning devices rely on the pressure of the water flow though the filtration system, but about 3% of swimming pools have separate cleaners with their own motors. It is estimated that in 2008 swimming pools and spa pools accounted for about 3.3% of total household electricity use: more than clothes dryers and dishwashers combined. In the homes with a swimming pool, it was almost always the largest single electricity user, averaging 1,930 kWh per year, compared with 720 kWh per year for refrigeration. The great majority of pool electricity use was for filtration pumping (Figure 4). Dedicated pool and spa heating accounted for about 1.8% of domestic gas use. Less than 3% of swimming pools (representing less than 0.4% of households) have gas pool heaters, but these tend to be very large energy consumers. The breakdown of heating energy use in stand-alone spa pools, or the share that comes from inbuilt heaters as distinct from dedicated external heaters or from general domestic water heaters is not known. Swimming pools and spa pools are significant consumers of water. Swimming pools are rarely emptied completely, but they are subject to water loss through evaporation and have to be topped up regularly in hot weather. Water is also lost to the drain during the filter cleaning and backwashing process. A typical 50kl swimming pool in Melbourne may need 20 to 30 kl of top-up water in a typical year in hotter parts of Australia, more than the full volume of the pool will be lost each year (GWA 2006). Evaporation can be reduced by partially screening the pool from wind or by covering the pool when not in use. About 14% of pools have a cover, but half the owners report that they rarely or never use it (BIS 2006).

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Spa pools are much smaller and generally lose very little water to evaporation, either because they stand empty or, if they are left full, they are often covered to conserve heat. However, many are emptied and refilled on a regular basis. BIS (2006) reported that spa pool owners refilled their pools over 60 times per year on average. Even if the smaller spas were refilled more frequently than the larger ones, annual water use per spa could well be over 100 kl per year, or twice the volume of a full size swimming pool.

2.3 Elements of energy use


Pumping Most of the electricity used in swimming pool operation is for pumping water through filters or through solar collectors. Separate pumps may also be used for pool cleaners or to circulate water through features such as waterfalls, but these tend to be required only for short periods. The keys to reducing the pumping energy use of a pool are: Design the pool to minimise resistance to water flow. In general, this means using larger diameter pipes and fewer and more gradual bends. The choice of filter can also be important: cartridge filters have less design flow resistance than sand filters and are easier to clean, so are likely to be kept in a condition of lower flow resistance. Preliminary cost-benefit modelling indicates that substituting a cartridge filter for a sand filter is cost-effective, and saves 80 to 90 kWh per year. Changing to 50mm piping and 135 rather than 90 bends, or larger radius curves, saves between 60 and 250 kWh per year, depending on the filter and the pool configuration. Matching the pump characteristics to the pool: the ideal is to turn the pool over (ie circulate the entire volume) at least once per day, and doing this at low flow rates uses less energy per litre pumped than at high flow rates. Most pumps are single speed, but there are two speed pumps which default to the lower speed for normal pumping, but can be used at high speed for cleaning or backwashing. Variable speed pump controllers which factor in the condition of the filters and the time needed to sanitise the pool have also been introduced, but are expensive. Use the most energy-efficient pump-unit of the models suitable for that particular pool.3 Standards Australia is currently developing a method of test for pool pumpunits and a rating method to indicate relative energy efficiency, using the same star rating label format as is used for household appliances.4

A pump-unit is an electric motor coupled to a hydraulic pump. The energy efficiency of the unit depends on both the efficiency of the motor and the efficiency of the pump, but can only be accurately determined when the complete pump-unit is tested under a hydraulic load. 4 The standard, being developed by Committee EL-015-25, is expected to be published in the first half of 2009.

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Sanitisation, timers and controllers Most pool pumps, sanitisers and cleaners are operated by timers or controllers, which have a small standby power consumption. Electrolytic cells and chlorine dosers themselves have relatively low energy use (typically 150-200W for a cell, compared with about 750-1,500 W for a filtration pump). However, the cell cannot operate without a flow of water, so pump operation is sometimes extended for sanitisation purposes, even after there has been sufficient circulation for the filter to remove solids. Heating About 31% of swimming pool in NSW, Vic, Qld, SA and WA have some form of heating, ranging from 75% in Victoria to 17% in WA (BIS 2006). The popularity of heating appears to be growing: over half the pools completed within the past 2 years report some form of heating, compared with about a quarter of older pools. The main forms of heating installed in swimming pools up to 5 years old are: Solar (over 90% of pool heating installations): this is the most energy-efficient form of pool heating, because no thermal input is required, only pumping energy. It is more energy-efficient to have separate pumps for the filtration and the solar heating circuits, and over three quarters of installations use a two-pump system. In the rest, the energy use of the main filtration pump can be greatly increased because it would need to be oversized to circulate the water through the solar collectors, and because the operating hours would be extended beyond filtration needs. Gas (about 7% of pool heating installations): these are typically large recirculating instantaneous water heaters with inputs ranging from 58 MJ/hr (16 kW) to about 430MJ/hr (120 kW) compared with 80 to 200 MJ/hr for domestic instantaneous gas water heaters. At present there are no energy labelling or minimum energy performance standards for gas pool heaters, but the scope for these is being investigated by the government Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program. Electric heat pumps (about 3% of pool heating installations).

Electric resistance pool heaters are also available (typically 36-40 kW, 3-phase) although now rarely used in domestic installations. Solar pool heaters operate in a different way from other pool heaters because their delivery temperature is limited to about 38C and this is only achieved during the warmer months, compared with 60-80C at any time for other heaters. They can extend the summer swimming season (especially when used with a pool cover) but do not enable year-round swimming. Stand-alone spa pools are all heated. Small to medium spas usually have a single phase electric resistance heater up to about 5 kW on the filtration circuit. Larger spas may be connected to an external recirculating gas pool heater. Smaller spas may be filled from non-recirculating external water heaters such as a domestic gas instantaneous heater installed for the purpose, or from the general house supply, in which case the energy efficiency of the water heating will be determined by the domestic water heater.
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Non-recirculating water heaters add new hot water to the spa, so if there is water in it already some will have to be wasted, along with any heat and chemicals it may still contain. In any case, the better insulated the spa and its cover, the more heat will be retained until the next use, so less heat (and less water) will need to be added.

2.4 Standards and levels of efficiency


There are no accepted measures or standards of overall energy performance for domestic swimming pools. Performance can vary significantly: a field trial which swapped several pumps between several pools found that filtration pumping energy varied from 2.9 to 12.1 kWh per 50,000 litres pumped, with most of the variation due to the owners settings and preferences (solar hot water pumping and chlorinator energy also varied). For the same pool, energy use could vary from 2.2 to 13.4 kWh per 50,000 litres pumped, under different pumps and settings. The lowest energy requirement was for a dual speed pump operating at the lower speed. Therefore there is no basis to adopt energy design standards for entire swimming pool systems, or to test whether those standards are achieved in designs or even in postconstruction operation. It is however possible to set performance standards for selected pool components, and to require design features which are known to lower energy use in operation. This is the approach taken in the California Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings (see extract at Appendix 1). It is also being used to some extent in Australia. The BASIX scheme in NSW, for example, requires a BASIX certificate for swimming pools and/or spas with a combined volume of 40,000 litres or more. The applicant must enter data on volume, location (indoors/outdoors), method of water heating if any, and whether outdoor pools are shaded or equipped with a pool cover. Electric resistance heating is not permitted for swimming pools. The certificate may carry requirements such as: A pool pump timer must be installed (California also has this requirement, but sets additional capabilities for the timer); A spa pump timer must be installed; A spa cover must be installed (California also has this requirement, with specified insulation values where electric resistance heating is used); A rainwater tank must be installed for topping up the pool (there must be a rainwater tap within 10m of the pool and/or spa); the volume of the rainwater tank (if required) depends on the nominated roof area draining to it, and whether a pool cover and shading have been nominated.

Californias swimming pool requirements go considerably further than BASIX, in that they impact on the actual hydraulic design of the pool, pump efficiency, pump control strategy and heater efficiency:

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The pool must be designed for less than a maximum flow rate: this is intended to make the hydraulics compatible with lower power and lower speed pumps or modes of operation, which are more energy-efficient. Pumps should be multi-speed (with default to lowest speed) or separate auxiliaries should have separate pumps: this is intended to avoid large, high power pumps operating at part loads well below their optimum efficiency point. Auxiliary pool loads that require high flow rates such as spas, pool cleaners, and water features, should be operated separately from the filtration to allow the filtration flow rate to be kept to a minimum. Electric resistance heating may not be used for pools except in conjunction with solar or recovered heat, or with spa pools which meet specified levels of thermal insulation.5 Only those pool pumps, gas pool heaters and heat pump pool heaters may be used which are registered as meeting California appliance efficiency standards. Where solar heating is not installed, connections shall be installed to allow for the future addition of solar heating equipment.

The issues which the California regulations seek to address are also present in Australia. Most pool builders use 40mm pipes and 90 bends, even though increasing pipe sizes to 50mm and using 135 bends is the single most cost-effective way to reduce the pumping energy needed. Also, there is a tendency for pool builders and designers to oversize: to recommend and install high power, high-flow pumps rather than lower power, lower flow, lower speed pumps. This also carries an energy penalty. Some of the elements on which the California regulatory approach is built are also present in Australia. An Australian Standard for testing and energy efficiency rating and labelling of swimming pool pumps is near completion. The Standard will also contain a minimum energy performance standard (MEPS) level which will be relatively low, at least initially. Subject to passing a regulatory impact assessment, it is envisaged that the Standard will be made mandatory under State legislation, in the same way as other appliance labelling and MEPS standards. Multi-speed and variable speed pumps can generally obtain a higher star rating than single-speed pumps. The Commonwealth-State Equipment Energy Efficiency Program has also undertaken to sponsor the development of a method of test and a rating system for gas pool heaters.

2.5 Potential Role for BCA


There is a case for including the following provisions in the BCA at the earliest opportunity (subject to formal cost-benefit analysis):
5

There are lists of complying spas, pool pumps, gas pool heater and heat pump pool heaters at http://www.energy.ca.gov/appliances/database/excel_based_files/Pool_Products/

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7. Requirements for pipe sizes and layout which reduce resistance to water flow, and so reduce the energy requirement for filtration pumping (eg 50 mm minimum pipe diameters and gradual bends rather than 90 elbows); 8. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heating for swimming pools. (As very few electric resistance heaters are used on swimming pool heating, this is large a preventative measure). This leaves the alternatives of unboosted solar, gas and heat pump water heating; 9. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heating for stand-alone spa pools (other than single-phase electric resistance heaters built into the recirculation systems of fully assembled stand-alone spa pools, or electric boosting of solar water heaters). This leaves the alternatives of solar, gas and heat pump water heating; 10. A requirement that all heated spa pools meet a specified level of thermal insulation, and be fitted with removable covers that also meet a specified level of thermal insulation. This should apply to both stand-alone and constructed spa pools, if these can be covered by the BCA (if not, appliance energy efficiency standards should be developed for stand-alone spas); 11. A requirement that all swimming pools equipped with heating (of any type) be fitted with a removable pool cover, whether the pool is indoors or outdoors; 12. A requirement that all swimming pools and spa pools be installed with one or more user-adjustable timers or other control devices which limit or manage the hours of pump operation. (As very few pumps are installed without timers, this formalises prevailing practice). There may be a case in future for including the following provisions in the BCA: 10. Minimum energy efficiency levels for pump-units, that may be higher than the general MEPS levels adopted for those products. This should be considered once mandatory energy labelling and MEPS is implemented for pump-units, and sufficient information is collected on the sales-weighted energy-efficiency of pump-units installed in new pools; 11. Minimum energy efficiency levels for gas pool heaters, that may be higher than the general MEPS levels adopted for those products. This should be considered once mandatory energy labelling and MEPS is implemented for gas pool heaters, and sufficient information is collected on the energy-efficiency of pool heaters units installed in new pools; 12. Requirements for pump-unit configurations and control strategies to limit power and rates of flow and to prevent the installation of over-sized filtration pumps which would operate at low efficiency much of the time (as in California). These issues should be reviewed from time to time as information accumulates.

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3. Shared and Public Pools


3.1 Type and number of pools
Shared pools are privately owned pools which can be used by any authorised person (as distinct from domestic pools which are owned by individual households). Typical examples are swimming pools in the common areas of apartment buildings or hotels, where the condition of use may be tenancy of an apartment or being a guest at the hotel. Public pools are open to all users. They are often owned and operated by local government (although leasing to managing agents is becoming more common). Pools in this category may range from single unheated outdoor swimming pools to multiple Olympic standard pools enclosed within large buildings, or aquatic centres. As public pools are often used for organised or school sporting events they are often configured as full-length (50m) or half length (25m). A full size Olympic swimming pool is exactly 50m long, 25m wide and at least 2m deep, giving it a water volume of at least 2,500,000 litres, or 50 times the volume of the average domestic pool. However, many public 50m pools are narrower typically 16 to 20m. The ABS does not appear to have any data on the number of shared or public pools in Australia. Sydney Water (2005) estimates that there are about 100 public swimming centres in the Great Sydney area, apart from pools in hotels, clubs, fitness centres or apartment buildings. Given that Sydney has about 20% of the national population, this would indicate about 500 public pool nationally. However, many smaller centres would have a pool, so the number of pools per person outside the capital cities would be much higher. At a rough guess there could be 1,000 to 1,500 public pool complexes in Australia, many with more than one swimming pool. In 2008 there were 6,200 hotels, motels and serviced apartments with 5 or more rooms in Australia (ABS 8635.0). If say half of these had a pool that would be 3,000 pools. There are no direct data on the number of apartment buildings, let alone the proportion of those with a swimming pool. However, the Census reports the number of apartments located in buildings of 1 to 2 stories, 3 stories and 4 or more stories. Assuming an average of 10, 30 and 60 dwellings respectively for each of the above building types would indicate about 60,000 apartment buildings of 1 to 2 stories, 10,000 of 3 storeys and over 5,000 of 4 or more storeys. If, say, 1 in 3 of the high rise apartments and 1 in 20 of the rest had pools, that would be another 5,000 pools.. With clubs, fitness centres etc there could possibly be a total of 8,000 to 10,000 shared swimming pools in Australia.

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3.2 Energy and Water Impacts


Shared and public pools use energy for the same main purposes as domestic pools: water filtration, sanitisation and heating. However, the amount of energy used per pool is much higher because average water volume is higher, bather loads are high and the sanitisation standards for public pools have to meet public health regulations. For example, shared and public pools are all covered by the Public Health (Swimming Pools and Spa Pools) Regulation 2000 under the NSW Public Health Act 1991, which states that: The occupier of a swimming pool or spa pool to which this Regulation applies must not allow a person to use the water in the pool unless the water in the pool is disinfected in such a way as to prevent the transmission of scheduled medical conditions to the other users of the pool. The Guidelines issued by the NSW Department of Health state that: all treated water public swimming pools and public spa pools shall be equipped with an effective water circulation system, filter and continuous disinfectant dosing control system. Continuous dosing means the use of a metering device to feed a chemical at a relatively constant rate (NSW Health 2006).6 The Guidelines also specify the periods in which the entire water volume must be turned over. In effect public and shared pools need to be sanitised and filtered continuously while open to the public, as distinct from domestic pools, where filters and sanitisers only need to operate 15% to 25% of the time, even in the swimming season. Public pools are also far more energy intensive than domestic pools in that most are heated, many are within buildings which need heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and many have user amenities with their own energy and water requirements. The energy and water use of public and shared swimming pools is a matter of considerable interest to their owners, because the operating costs and utility charges can be very high. However, comparisons are difficult to make, because almost every study reports different measures and benchmarks. Some report energy for the entire swimming centre including amenities and non-swimmer areas, some for the pool hall only, some for the pool only (with pumping energy and water heating energy sometimes combined and sometimes separately reported). Table 1 summarises the energy use guidelines from a UK publication (for an entire aquatic centre ). As the water temperatures are much the same in all public pools, and the HVAC requirements are driven more from the need to manage condensation from the pool rather than by external temperature conditions, the energy use of a similar indoor pool in Australia should be roughly similar.
The Regulations state that: It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence against this Regulation if the defendant satisfies the court that the act or omission constituting the offence was done in compliance with the Guidelines for Disinfecting Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools published by the Department of Health as in force from time to time.
6

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Table 1 Energy budget and energy saving options for a typical small public indoor aquatic centre
Electricity Heating Total Share of kWh/yr kWh/m2 kWh/m2 kWh/m2 saving (a) Typical pool 237 1336 1573 1494350 Good practice 152 573 725 688750 Potential saving 36% 57% 54% 6% -48450 -51 -51 0 Better building insulation 60% -480700 -506 -481 -25 Better ventilation management 3% -27550 -29 0 -29 Improved pool pumps 18% -145350 -153 -145 -8 Regular use of pool cover 2% -15200 -16 0 -16 Improved Lighting 11% -88350 -93 -86 -7 Operation & scheduling changes Total potential energy saving -85 -763 -848 100% -805600 Source: UK Energy Consumption Guide 78 (2001) One heated pool 25x12 m surface (a) Total floor area of centre is 950 m2.

The information about water and energy use in public pools in Australia is rather limited, although several studies currently under way should improve this situation during 2009.7 Information about shared pools in hotels and apartment buildings is even more limited. EnergyAustralia has reported detailed energy use for two high rise apartment block with pools and spas in Sydney (Table 2). The total annual energy use in Building A was about 290,000 kWh/yr, or about 5% of total common area electricity use and 15% of common area gas use. The total annual energy use in Building B approached 244,000 kWh/yr, or about 27% of total common area electricity use. Table 2 Typical energy budget for small public indoor pool centre
Electricity Gas heating kWh/yr kWh/yr 208333 50000 Building A Swimming pool 0 2778 Sauna 0 27778 Spa Combined 80556 208333 Building B Swimming pool 122222 0 Spa 102778 0 Combined 244444 0 Source: Derived by author from EA (2005) Total 258333 2778 27778 288889 122222 102778 244444

Where present, pools obviously account for a significant proportion of common area energy use. According to the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and

The Sydney City Council is collecting energy and water consumption data for all of its aquatic centres; this should be available in March 2009 (personal communication, January 2009). Sydney Water has commissioned 11 energy and water audits of aquatic centres (The Conserver, October 2009) and is using the data to compile benchmarking Guidelines, to be published in mid 2009 (personal communication, January 2009). The Victorian Aquatic Industries Council has a grant from the Smart Water Fund to carry out a study of water (but not energy) use in 75 aquatic centres in Victoria. The results should be available during 2009 (personal communication, January 2009). .

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Tourism Energy Best Practice program, pool energy accounts for between 4% and 8% of total energy use in hotels.8

3.3 Elements of energy use


In general, the same energy and water uses are present use in public pools and the buildings which house them as for domestic pools, but on a much larger scale and designed for high intensity of use. There are however several important differences in design approach: Public pool design tends to involve engineers, architects and other building professionals, whereas domestic pools tend to be designed by builder-packagers; Many clients commissioning public pools are well aware of the high operating costs, and will instruct designers accordingly, whereas very few domestic pool clients are aware of this; Public pools must meet a range of stringent and regularly enforced health standards, some of which are quite prescriptive in terms of sanitisation and water turnover, whereas the standards for domestic pools are in effect advisory and not enforceable; Many public pools are housed in buildings, or parts of buildings, which have high service requirements and energy use of their own and interact with the general building services in complex ways (some of which offer opportunities, eg use of waste heat). Very few domestic pools are in this situation.

Pool water management and conditioning Public pools have much larger pumps than domestic pools. The Australian Standard for energy efficiency of swimming pool pumps applies to all single phase pump-units intended to be used in the operation of swimming pools and spa pools, but it will not cover the 3-phase pumps-units, which tend to be used in public pools. However, the 3phase electric motors themselves are subject to MEPS. Most public pools are heated to between 26C and 28C. Public spas are limited to no higher than 38C. This increases the rate of both water and heat loss due to evaporation. Unlike domestic pools, where the management objective is to lose as little water as possible in normal use, public pools have to add new water continually: the current benchmark is about 40 to 60 litres per visitor per day (Sydney Water 2008).

http://www.ret.gov.au/energy/Documents/best%20practice%20guides/energy_case_studies_rydgescapital hill.pdf and other case studies.

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Heating and Ventilation of Pool Buildings According to the UK Carbon Trust (2008), the control of evaporation from the water is a function not normally encountered in standard heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and can therefore be misunderstood by designers and operators. The ventilation system is normally the primary (or only) means of: Controlling the pool hall air quality, temperature and humidity so as to reduce evaporation from the pool and prevent condensation (and, potentially, corrosion damage). Maintaining comfortable environmental conditions for different occupants. Removing chlorine and other contaminants from the air.

In colder climates, a large amount of useful heat is lost by ventilation of the pool enclosure, and recovery of that heat is often a priority. In Australia however, heat loss through ventilation may be necessary to cool the pool enclosure, so high air change rates may be an advantage rather than a liability, at least for parts of the year. It also means that exhaust air, even though typically 1C higher than the pool water temperature, may still be cooler than the outside air, so the heat exchange may need to work in the opposite direction (ie to cool rather than heat incoming air). User amenities Almost all public pools have locker rooms, toilets and showers for bathers. These can have significant HVAC, lighting and hot water demands of their own. There may also be administration areas and (less service-intensive) circulation areas, storage and plant rooms. Public pools may also have adjacent gym areas or other indoor sports courts, public sitting areas, spectator areas and kitchen and catering facilities. To the extent that these spaces and functions are all adequately covered by provisions in the BCA, there are no special requirements when integrated with or attached to public pools. However, the design of a multi-function building which includes a pool can give rise to complex interactions of services which can present both problems and positive design opportunities with regard to energy and water management.

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3.4 Potential Role for BCA


There is a case for including the following provisions in the BCA at the earliest opportunity (subject to formal cost-benefit analysis): 13. Definition of a distinct class of non-domestic swimming pools and spa pools that correspond to the definition of public pools used in health regulations, eg swimming pools and spa pools to which the public is admitted, whether free of charge, on payment of a fee or otherwise, including swimming pools and spa pools: (a) to which the public is admitted as an entitlement of membership of a club, or (b) provided at a workplace for the use of employees, or (c) provided at a hotel, motel or guest house or at holiday units, or similar facility, for the use of guests, or (d) provided at a school or hospital, but not including swimming pools or spa pools in private residential premises. 14. Prohibition of the use of electric resistance water heaters for public swimming pools or spa pools. The alternatives would include solar (unboosted, electricboosted or gas-boosted), gas, heat pump or waste heat; 15. A requirement that all public spa pools be fitted with insulating covers and have a minimum level of thermal insulation; 16. A requirement that all public swimming pools equipped with heating (of any type) be fitted with a removable pool cover, whether the pool is indoors or outdoors; As nearly all public pools would have special design requirements which are likely to involve engineers or other specialists, general design provisions relating to pipe sizes or controls which are appropriate for domestic pools are not appropriate for public pools. There are at present no general Australian energy or water performance standards for public pools, for buildings housing public pools (eg Class 9) or the parts of buildings housing public pools (eg parts of Class 2 or 3). There are several projects under way to gather data on which such performance standards could be based. Even if performance standards were developed, it would also be necessary to develop methods of predicting performance so that compliance with those standards could be established. It may then also be possible to establish deemed to satisfy provisions: eg the recovery of heat from moist are ventilated from the pool hall. There may be a case for including such provisions in the BCA in future, and these issues should be reviewed from time to time as information accumulates.

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4. Fixed Electric Resistance Space Heating


4.1 Types of Fixed Electric Resistance Heating
Electric resistance heating is currently the most greenhouse gas-intensive means of space and water heating, even though it is close to 100% efficient at the point of conversion. This is because the great majority of electricity generated in Australia is from the combustion of coal, leading to high emissions and low conversion efficiency at the power stations. Despite the CPRS, the average emissions intensity of electricity supplied in Australia is still projected to be about 75% of todays levels by 2030 (Treasury 2008). Table 3 illustrates the typical emissions per unit of useful energy output from the most common means of space heating. Although natural gas and LPG combustion is less efficient than electricity at the point of use, the greenhouse gas-intensity is so much lower that it still has a greenhouse advantage. The use of heat pump technology brings the greenhouse intensity of electric heating much closer to that of gas or LPG. Table 3 Typical emissions per unit of heat output, space heating
Typical kg CO2-e/GJ kg CO2-e/GJ efficiency delivered(a) useful energy 278 278 Electric Resistance 100% 99 278 Electric Heat Pump 280% 85 64 75% Natural Gas combustion 89 67 75% LPG combustion 23 14(b) 60% Wood (controlled combustion) (a) Typical full fuel cycle emissions factors for energy delivered and converted. (b) CO2 from renewable fuels not counted only CH4 and N2O emissions.

There are many possible applications of electric resistance heating in buildings. This paper is only concerned with electric resistance heaters intended to maintain a comfortable thermal environment for the occupants of a Class 1 or buildings (or the residential parts of other building classes), as distinct from: electric resistance water heaters, which may eventually be covered in other parts of the BCA; and specialised electric resistance heaters designed for non-residential applications, such as providing local heating for workers within otherwise unheated industrial spaces (industrial heaters), or blowing warm air across open doorways to prevent leakage of conditioned air in retail buildings (air curtains).

The definition may need to be further limited to cover stand-alone devices which rely on electric resistance alone, rather than where electric resistance is used in association with heat pump technology (eg as booster elements) or with other fuels (eg dual-energy gas and electric heaters), or as spot reheaters in air conditioning ducts.

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Electric resistance heaters have the advantage of flexibility of location, since no pipes or flues are necessary. The main disadvantages are high running costs and high greenhouse gas-intensity. Electricity prices are expected to increase more than other energy forms as the CPRS begins to influence the energy market, so the running cost disadvantages will increase. Electric heaters up to 2.4 kW output can be plugged into a power-point, whether or not the heater is fixed to the structure or portable. Larger capacity units need fixed wiring, so need to be installed by a qualified person. The effectiveness of BCA coverage of plug-in fixed electric heaters is likely to limited, because any provisions can be easily circumvented (either by the builder or the occupant) by fixing the heaters after completion and plugging them in to power points pre-positioned for that purpose. The relatively low capital cost of fixed plug-in electric resistance heating can make it attractive to project home builders. An even cheaper option is to provide no fixed heating at all, and let the eventual occupants install portable electric heaters, or any other type, at their own cost. This is common practice in NSW and Queensland, but is not generally acceptable to home buyers in the States where natural gas heating is popular (Figure 5).9 Alternatively, buildings in warmer areas may be equipped with air conditioning, which will almost always have a reverse cycle heat pump heating capability (cooling-only air conditioners have disappeared from the market). While this is a relatively efficient form of electric heating, it comes at the cost of introducing cooling, which may be otherwise unnecessary and which may contribute to summer peak demand on the supply system.

100.0% 90.0% 80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% NSW Vic Qld SA WA Tas NT ACT Aust Other Wood Gas Electric - heat pump Electric - nonducted Electric - slab Electric - ducted

Figure 5 Types of main heating in Australian homes, 2008

note that most nearly all gas heaters in the NT would be LPG).

Homes with this form of main heating

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The proportion of existing dwellings and other buildings with fixed electric resistance heating is not known. Of the main heater types which the ABS surveys (ABS 4602.0) only electric slab heating and electric ducted heating are definitely fixed and resistive. Together they account for less than 4% of main heaters. The non-ducted electric heater category is resistive, but not necessarily fixed. In fact, the great majority of non-ducted electric heaters in NSW and Queensland are portable, because the relatively low demand for heating in most parts of those States means that multiple plug-in heaters are adequate. Only in Tasmania and the ACT is it likely that a significant proportion of non-ducted electric main heating is fixed and hard-wired. Whatever the form of main heating, many homes will use electric resistance heaters for secondary heating. For example, a household with an open plan living area served by a gas or wood space heater will often use electric resistance secondary heaters in bedrooms and bathrooms. As secondary heaters tend to be 2.4 kW or less, they can usually be plugged into a standard power-point, whether or not they are physically fixed to a wall. In fact, some manufacturers offer the same heater bodies in fixed or portable configurations. Electric resistance heaters can be broadly classified into three main categories: Space heaters: these are intended to circulate heated air evenly throughout a space, often in living areas, where higher temperatures are usually desired. They generally incorporate a forced convection fan as well as the resistance elements; Background heaters: these rely on natural convection or conduction (contact with the heated surface, especially floors) to provide background heat in circulation spaces such as passageways or in bedrooms, where lower temperatures are usually required than in living areas; Specialised or local heaters, eg heated towel rails, downward-pointing fan heaters designed for bathrooms, or radiant heaters which are intended to heat only the persons within range of the heater.

Table 4 gives some examples of each type. Underfloor (slab) heating Embedding heating systems in the floor is common in cold countries, where homes are heated more or less continuously over the winter, but less common in Australia. Nevertheless, the local market offers several electric resistance heating systems designed for embedding in concrete floor slabs, or in the grout layer between the slab and floor tiles (or under timber, carpet or other surface finish). As the heated air rises and circulates through the room by natural convection, no other form of heating is necessary. The typical installed power density of heating elements is about 100-120 W/m2 in living areas and bedrooms, and 150-200 W/m2 in bathrooms, swimming pool surrounds or other places where people walk barefoot. A typical 4m x 5m living area would have a total embedded wattage of 2.4 kW, comparable to typical fan or column heater.

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Depending on the heat loss from the space, the average operating power usually falls to a third to a half of the maximum power, once the slab is fully heated. Slab-embedded heaters can operate as storage heaters, taking power during parts of the day or night when electricity is cheaper, and gradually releasing the stored heat at other times. Under-tile heaters operate more like day-rate space heaters, because the interval before heat is transferred to the space is much shorter. Underfloor heaters in bathrooms are typically controlled by time clocks to match the most intensive periods of daily use. All modern electric slab heaters have thermostats, so the power can be regulated or switched once the space reaches a preset temperature. Larger installations also tend to be zoned, so rarely occupied rooms need not be continuously heated. Hydronic heating, in which the heating medium is circulating water or other fluid, may also be use for underfloor or in-slab installation. The heat source may be any combustion heater (gas, LPG or wood ) or even an electric resistance water heater, and any of these may be combined with a solar pre-heater. Various configurations are possible the heater may serve the underfloor system only, or domestic water heating and possibly convection air heating as well. Hydronic systems are more complex and expensive to install and maintain than electric slab heaters, but they may cost less to operate. However, accurate temperature control and zoning may be more difficult for a hydronic than an electric resistance system, so a poorly designed and controlled hydronic system may not have much running cost or greenhouse advantage over a well designed electric resistance system. Heat banks Heat banks work in much the same way as under-slab electric resistance heaters, but instead of the floor slab the thermal store consists of bricks purpose-made to have a high thermal storage capacity. These are surrounded by insulation and contained in a metal cabinet which is usually placed on the floor in the space to be heated (wall fixing to masonry is possible, but the cabinet can weigh 100-200 kg). The heater operates as a combined background and convection space heater. The main difference from other electric heaters is that the heat bank heats the thermal store at times of low electricity price and then releases the stored heat gradually into the space. The rate of release is determined by the temperature differential between the heat store and the air outside the cabinet, and the insulation value of the thermal store. The main weakness of the design is limited controllability. It is difficult for the user (or the controls) to project the heat requirement ahead of time, so there is a risk that a fully charged heat bank will release too much heat the next day, or conversely if the recharge was partial there will not be enough heat. This can be addressed by having supplementary booster elements (possibly with the electricity charged at day rate) to top up heat, by controlling the rate of heat transfer through the operation of fans or baffles in the insulation, or both. However, it is not possible for a heat bank to respond to room conditions as directly as a simple on-demand thermostat-controlled electric heater. At worst, if there is an unexpected warm day in winter, the room windows will have to be opened to let out the unwanted heat.

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The main advantage of a heat bank compared with conventional electric resistance space heating is the running cost. Heat banks are in many ways a legacy of older utility pricing strategies to develop timer-controlled off-peak loads, sometimes as a counter to the spread of natural gas heating. It is likely that these strategies will increasingly be replaced by time of use metering and dynamic pricing. This should increase the average electricity price to heat banks (and possibly reduce the average price to on-demand electric heaters), so at some point the running cost saving may no longer compensate for the extra capital costs and lower controllability. However, heat banks and other heat storages will still be of value to utilities, especially as the share of variable renewable energy sources in the generation mix increases.

4.3 Potential Role for BCA


Table 4 summarises the configurations and functions of domestic electric resistance heating discussed above. The shaded areas indicate where coverage by the BCA may be a practical option. Table 4 Types of electric resistance heaters and potential for BCA coverage Fixed Heating function Background Space Local/specialised Background Space Local/specialised Plug-in examples Fixed Panel heaters Fixed convectors Radiant bathroom heaters Oil-filled column heaters Fan heaters Radiant Hard-wired examples Underfloor slab heating Heat banks, convectors Towel-rail heaters (a) NA NA NA

Portable

Shaded area indicates potential for coverage by BCA (a) There are also plug-in fixed towel rails.

There is little point in the BCA covering fixed heaters of 2.4 kW or less, since these are no more part of the building fabric than a shelf or a toilet roll holder. If the BCA were to prohibit plug-in fixed electric resistance heaters, say, homeowners (or builders or tradespersons) would simply fix them after the certified completion of the building and plug them in to the power points pre-positioned for that purpose. . The only types of electric resistance heater that could be effectively covered are: Heaters which are part of the building fabric, eg physically integrated into the floor, wall or ceiling, rather than fixed to their surface; and/or Hard-wired heaters, which may not be connected to the electricity supply by a standard power point, because they draw more than 10 amps, and/or require a 3phase supply, or for safety reasons.

These definition would cover electric slab and underfloor heating, and heat banks, both of which are relatively rare in existing buildings, and probably even more so in new ones. Given the small proportion of electric resistance heater uses where BCA coverage may be practical, is there a rationale for coverage?

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It has been suggested that if electric storage water heaters are excluded from new dwellings on the grounds of greenhouse gas-intensity, then so should electric storage space heaters. This does not necessarily follow. Water heaters deliver a highly standardised service (hot water) so qualitative differences between types and energy forms are small. There is no way to distinguish water heated by electricity, gas or solar, so long as it meets the same criteria of availability, temperature and rate of flow, so the real differences between options are capital cost and running cost, which in turn reflects greenhouse gas-intensity. As users have no strong preferences (other than not running out of hot water), they are usually content to leave the decision to the builder or other intermediary: this accounts for the split incentive market failures which the BCAs requirements for water heaters are intended to address. Space heaters, on the other hand, deliver outputs that are qualitatively different. People have strong preferences for convection, conduction or radiant forms of heating, for real flames (or flame effects), and even for different fuels. It is especially likely that preferences will come into play when selecting electric heaters that are more expensive to buy and install (as is the case with slab heating and heat banks) and less costly to run. This is the opposite of the water heating case, where lack of user involvement tends to lead to the outcome with the lowest capital cost but higher running cost. The diverse and specialised nature of space heating also means that there are no direct non-electric alternatives for many electric resistance heaters, unlike electric water heaters, where the obvious alternatives are solar-boosted electric and heat pumps even before considering other fuels. Although heat pump technology is energy- and greenhouse-efficient, there are no commercially available units which only heat, so mandating heat pump technology for electric heating would most likely force the installation of a reverse cycle air conditioner, even in homes where air conditioners would not otherwise have been installed. This would exacerbate peak loads on the electricity supply system because, once installed, the cooling capability would almost certainly be used on extreme hot days. While there does not appear to be a case for the BCA to set performance requirements that would prohibit the installation of fixed and hard wired electric resistance heating, there may be a case for requiring design elements and features which would reduce the risk of energy waste from such systems. The BCA already requires mandatory underslab and slab-edge insulation where in-slab heating is to be installed. Other provisions could include: 14. For in-slab and under-floor electric resistance heating: a. mandatory zoning, so that heating to each space can be switched separately b. all zones to be controllable by timers or programmable controllers and thermostats c. maximum power loads, eg 110W/m2 for living are as and 150 W/m2 for bathrooms.

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15. All heat banks to have a mandated maximum rate of heat loss into the space (eg 200W) when fully charged and when all baffles are closed and all fans are off, to reduce the risk that heat would have to be vented from the room under warmer than expected conditions. *****

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References
BIS (2006) Backyard Swimming Pools in Australia: An Analysis, 2005 BIS Shrapnel, January 2006 Carbon Trust (2008) Swimming pools: A deeper look at energy efficiency: In-depth technology guide CTG009, the Carbon Trust, 2008 CEC (2008) 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings, California Energy Commission (December 2008) CEC (2008a) Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Residential Compliance Manual, California Energy Commission (December 2008) EA (2005) Multi Unit Residential Buildings Energy & Peak Demand Study, Paul Myors (EnergyAustralia) & Rachel OLeary & Rob Helstroom (NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Natural Resources, October 2005 EES (2008) Energy use in the Australian Residential Sector, 1986-2020, Energy Efficient Strategies for DEWHA, June 2008 Energy Consumption Guide 78 (2001) Energy use in sports and recreation buildings, Best Practice Programme (UK), September 2001, GWA (2004) Analysis of the Potential for Energy Efficiency Measures for Domestic Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Equipment, George Wilkenfeld and Associates for NAEEEC, September 2004 GWA (2006) Water Saving Requirements for New Residential Buildings in Victoria: Options for flexible compliance, George Wilkenfeld and Associates for the Department of Sustainability and Environment, May 2006 NSW Health (2006) Public Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Guidelines, Department of Health NSW, June 1996 Seebacher (2007) Measuring and Rating the Energy Efficiency of Pool Pumps, Part B: Field Trials, P.J and C.J Seebacher, for Equipment Energy Efficiency Program, May 2007 Sydney Water (2005) Saving water in Community Swimming Pools or Leisure Centres, March 2005 Treasury (2008) Australias Low Pollution Future: The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation., October 2008

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Appendix 1: California Title 24 Requirements: Swimming Pools


1. Extract from California Energy Commission: 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings (December 2008) Administrative Regulations, California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 1 [metric units added in parentheses] SECTION 114 MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR POOL AND SPA SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT (a) Certification by Manufacturers. Any pool or spa heating system or equipment may be installed only if the manufacturer has certified that the system or equipment has all of the following: 1. Efficiency. A thermal efficiency that complies with the Appliance Efficiency Regulations; and 2. On-off switch. A readily accessible on-off switch, mounted on the outside of the heater that allows shutting off the heater without adjusting the thermostat setting; and 3. Instructions. A permanent, easily readable, and weatherproof plate or card that gives instruction for the energy efficient operation of the pool or spa heater and for the proper care of pool or spa water when a cover is used; and 4. Electric resistance heating. No electric resistance heating; and EXCEPTION 1 to Section 114(a)4: Listed package units with fully insulated enclosures, and with tight-fitting covers that are insulated to at least R-6. EXCEPTION 2 to Section 114(a)4: Pools or spas deriving at least 60 percent of the annual heating energy from site solar energy or recovered energy. (b) Installation. Any pool or spa system or equipment shall be installed with all of the following: 1. Piping. At least 36 inches [914 mm] of pipe shall be installed between the filter and the heater or dedicated suction and return lines, or built-in or built-up connections shall be installed to allow for the future addition of solar heating equipment; and 2. Covers. A cover for outdoor pools or outdoor spas that have a heat pump or gas heater. 3. Directional inlets and time switches for pools. If the system or equipment is for a pool: i. The pool shall have directional inlets that adequately mix the pool water; and ii. A time switch or similar control mechanism shall be installed as part of the pool water circulation control system that will allow all pumps to be set or programmed to run only during the off-peak electric demand period, and for the minimum time necessary to maintain the water in the condition required by applicable public health standards. SECTION 150 MANDATORY FEATURES AND DEVICES (p) Pool Systems and Equipment Installation. Any residential pool system or equipment installed shall comply with the applicable requirements of Section 114, as well as the requirements listed in this section.

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1. Pump sizing and flow rate. A. All pumps and pump motors installed shall be listed in the Commissions directory of certified equipment and shall comply with the Appliance Efficiency Regulations. B. All pump flow rates shall be calculated using the following system equation: H = C X F2 Where: H is the total system head in feet of water. F is the flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm). C is a coefficient based on the volume of the pool: 0.0167 for pools less than or equal to 17,000 gallons [64,345 litres]. 0.0082 for pools greater than 17,000 gallons. and; C. Filtration pumps shall be sized, or if programmable, shall be programmed, so that the filtration flow rate is not greater than the rate needed to turn over the pool water volume in 6 hours or 36 gpm [136.3 litres/min], whichever is greater10; and D. Pump motors used for filtration with a capacity of 1 hp [0.75 kW] or more shall be multi-speed; and E. Each auxiliary pool load shall be served by either separate pumps or the system shall be served by a multi-speed pump; and EXCEPTION to Section 150(p)1E: Pumps if less than 1 hp may be single speed. F. Multi-speed pumps shall have controls which default to the filtration flow rate when no auxiliary pool loads are operating; and G. For multi-speed pumps, the controls shall default to the filtration flow rate setting within 24 hours and shall have an override capability for servicing. 2. System piping. A. A length of straight pipe that is greater than or equal to at least 4 pipe diameters shall be installed before the pump; and B. Pool piping shall be sized so that the velocity of the water at maximum flow for auxiliary pool loads does not exceed 8 feet per second [2.44 m/sec] in the return line and 6 feet per second [1.83 m/sec] in the suction line; and C. All elbows shall be sweep elbows or elbow-type that have a pressure drop of less than the pressure drop of straight pipe with a length of 30 pipe diameters. 3. Filters. Filters shall be at least the size specified in NSF/ANSI 50 for public pool intended applications. 4. Valves. Minimum diameter of backwash valves shall be 2 inches [51 mm] or the diameter of the return pipe, whichever is greater.

*****
For a pool of Australian average volume (50,000 litres), the maximum flow rate under this formula would be 50,000/240 = 208.3 litres/min.
10

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2. Extract from 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards: Residential Compliance Manual (December 2008) The mandatory requirements for pool and spa heating equipment are essentially the same as in the 2005 Standards?. In the 2008 standards, there are include many additional requirements for residential swimming pool filtration equipment which affect pump selection and flow rate, piping and fittings, and filter selection standards. These new standards are designed to reduce the energy used to filter and maintain the clarity and sanitation of pool water. 5.2.8.2 Heating Equipment Requirements Before any pool or spa heating system or equipment may be installed, the manufacturer must certify to the Energy Commission that the system or equipment complies with 114 and 115. The requirements include minimum heating efficiency according to Appliance Efficiency Regulations, an on-off switch outside the heater, permanent and weatherproof operating instructions, no continuous pilot light, and no electric resistance heating (see exceptions below). 115 Pool and spa heaters may not have continuously burning pilot lights. 114 Outdoor pools and spas with gas or electric heaters shall have a cover installed. The cover should be fitted and installed during the final inspection. There are two exceptions for electric heaters, which may be installed for: Listed package units with fully insulated enclosures (e.g., hot tubs), and with tightfitting covers, insulated to at least R-6. Pools or spas getting 60% or more of their annual heating from site solar energy or recovered energy.

5.2.8.3 Pool Pump Requirements For maximum energy efficiency, pool filtration should be operated at the lowest possible flow rate for a time period that provides sufficient water turnover for clarity and sanitation. Auxiliary pool loads that require high flow rates such as spas, pool cleaners, and water features, should be operated separately from the filtration to allow the filtration flow rate to be kept to a minimum. 150.p.1 All pumps and pump motors shall comply with the specifications of the Appliance Efficiency Regulations. The pool filtration flow rate may not be greater than the rate needed to turn over the pool water volume in six hours or 36 gpm, whichever is greater. This means that for

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pools of less than 13,000 gallons the pump must be sized to have a flow rate of less than 36 gpm and for pools of greater than 13,000 gallons, the pump must be sized using the following equation: Max Flow Rate (gpm) = Pool Volume (gallons) / 360 These are maximum flow rates. Lower flow rates and longer filtration times are encouraged and will result in added energy savings. Pools with auxiliary pool loads must use either a multi-speed pump or a separate pump for each auxiliary pool load. For example, if a spa shares the same pool filtration system, either a multi-speed pump must be used or a separate pump must be provided to operate the spa. If the pool system can be served by one pump of less than 1 total-hp in capacity, the pump may be single speed. Filtration pump motors with a capacity of 1 total-hp or more must be multi-speed. All pool pumps sold in California must be tested and listed with the CEC according to the Appliance Efficiency Regulations. Pump manufacturers must list flow rates, power, and energy factor at each of three system curves (see Figure xx). For pools equal to or less than 17,000 gallons, a pump must be chosen such that the flow rate listed for Curve A is less than the six-hour turnover rate. For pools greater than 17,000 gallons, a pump must be chosen such that the listed flow rate at Curve C is less than the six-hour turnover rate. 5.2.8.4 Pool Pump Controls Pool controls are a critical element of energy efficient pool design. Modern pool controls allow for auxiliary loads such as cleaning systems, solar heating, and temporary water features without compromising energy savings. 114.b A time switch or similar control mechanism must be installed as part of the pool water circulation control system that will allow all pumps to be set or programmed to run only during the off-peak electric demand periods and for the minimum time necessary to maintain the water in the condition required by applicable public health standards. 150.p.1 Multi-speed pumps must have controls that default to the filtration flow rate when no auxiliary pool loads are operating. The controls must also default to the filtration flow rate setting within 24 hours and must have a temporary override capability for servicing. 5.2.8.5 Pool Piping, Filter, and Valve Requirements System design for residential pools is new for 2008. Correct sizing of piping, filters, and valves reduces overall system head, reduces noise and wear, and increases energy efficiency. Other mandatory requirements include leading straight pipe into the pump, directional inlets for mixing, and piping to allow for future solar installations.

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114.b and 150.p.2 Pool piping must be sized according to the maximum flow rate needed for all auxiliary loads. The maximum velocity allowed is 8 fps in the return line and 6 fps in the suction line. Table 5-3 shows the minimum pipe sizes required by pool volume based on a sixhour turnover filtration flow rate. These pipe sizes would need to be increased if there are auxiliary loads that operate at greater than the filtration flow rate. Conversely, they could be reduced if the pump is sized for greater than a six-hour turnover filtration flow rate. Table 5-3 Six-hour Turnover Pipe Sizing Pool volume (gallons) [litres] Min Max 13,000 [49,205] 13,000 17,000 [64,345] 17,000 21,000 79,485] 21,000 30,000 [113,550] 30,000 42,000 [158,970] 42,000 48,000 [181,680] 48,000 65,000 [246,025] Minimum Pipe Diameter (in) [mm] Return Suction 1.5 [38] 1.5 [38] 1.5 [38] 2 [51] 2 [51] 2 [51] 2 [51] 2.5 [64] 2.5 [64] 3 [76] 3 [76] 3 [76] 3 [76] 3.5 [90]

There must be a length of straight pipe that is greater than or equal to at least 4 pipe diameters installed before the pump. That is, for a 2 inch suction pump, there must be at least 8 inches of straight pipe before the pumps strainer basket. Traditional hard 90 elbows are not allowed in pool systems. All elbows must be sweep elbows or a type of elbow that has a pressure drop less than the pressure drop of straight pipe with a length of 30 pipe diameters. For example, a 2 inch elbow must have a pressure drop less than a 5-foot length of 2 inch straight pipe. Field verification of sweep elbows may be performed by checking that the distance w of the installed sweep elbow is greater than that for a hard 90 elbow (refer to Figure 54). The difference in measurement between the radial edge of one sleeve to the perpendicular side of the elbow is found to be distinct between sweep elbows and hard 90s. There is sufficient difference in distance w such that all sweep elbows exceed the minimum values listed in Table 5-4. Figure 5-4 below illustrates w the dimension between the elbow sleeves and Table 54 shows the minimum distances w for an acceptable sweep elbow.. [diagrams] Filters shall be sized using NSF/ANSI 50 based on the maximum flow rate through the filter. The filter factors that must be used are (in ft2/gpm): Cartridge 0.375 Sand 15 Diatomaceous Earth 2

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Backwash valves must me sized to the diameter of the return pipe or two inches, whichever is greater. Multiport backwash valves have a high pressure drop and are discouraged. Low-loss slide and multiple three-way valves can provide significant savings. The pool must have directional inlets to adequately mix the pool water. If a pool does not currently use solar water heating, piping must be installed to accommodate any future installation. Contractors can choose three options to allow for the future addition of solar heating equipment: Provide at least 36 inches of pipe between the filter and the heater. To allow for the future addition of solar heating equipment Plumb separate suction and return lines to the pool dedicated to future solar heating. Install built-up or built-in connections for future piping to solar water heating. An example of this would be a capped off tee fitting. *****

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