Friday, 30 January 2015

Carl Turbitt, ABB’s UK HVAC Drives Team Leader, writes: On the face of it, heating a large volume of water is a very expensive continuous exercise, but a requirement for customer comfort and satisfaction. It is imperative to give them the ultimate experience if you want them to return again and again.

Swimming pools are among the most energy intensive facilities constructed, due to the large volume of water in the pool that continually needs to be circulated, heated, treated, filtered, topped up and replaced. A 25 metre pool can hold as much as a million litres of water.

So how can you avoid splashing out on energy?

Variable-speed drives (VSDs) control the flow of swimming pool pumps and air conditioning fans to eliminate energy waste, cutting energy use by as much as 50 percent in some cases.

Compare this with traditional methods of pump and fan control, many of which are based on throttling arrangements: the motor is driven at full speed and then the flow of liquid or gas is regulated by valves, vanes or similar mechanisms.

Throttling the output in this way wastes huge amounts of energy. A VSD can increase the system’s efficiency by adjusting the motor speed to the correct operation point and eliminating the need for throttling at all.

If, for example, a 15kW pump is throttled by 50 percent, the investment in a VSD could payback in only six months of continuous operation.

And while you’re at it, take advantage of the many other benefits that a VSD can offer the pool operator:

  • Keep more of your money with Enhanced Capital Allowances
  • Increase equipment life and cut maintenance by programming start and stop times
  • Program different running speed at different times or days
  • Cope with varying seasonal demand by running the pump at reduced speed in the low season and   using a boost button to increase filtration rates temporarily to accommodate a sudden rise in demand. If the pool closes for parts of the year, the pump can be run at minimum speed rather than shut down altogether, eliminating the need for manual agitation of the water.
  • You can also use VSDs to find the optimal filtration rate for your facility. A low filtration rate gives the most effective filtration. Large pools with substantial sand filters use the lowest rates whereas smaller pools with smaller filters use slightly higher.

Real pools, real savings

These savings sound great, but don’t just take my word for it. There are real pool operators right now using VSDs to make substantial cuts in their operating costs. Take Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool. The UK’s largest indoor water park, it is saving up to £16,000 per annum on pumping costs using VSDs.

So, instead of splashing out on energy you don’t require, optimise your plant by using VSDs to cut your costs.

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