Many swimming pools and hydrotherapy pools in the UK are facing the risk of closure as leisure centres, rehabilitation centres and schools feel the pinch of the energy crisis.
According to ukactive, hundreds, potentially thousands, of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools may be lost as a result of huge rises in energy costs, which are estimated to have risen from a sector total of £500m in 2019 to between £1.0bn and £1.2bn in 2022.
Hydrotherapy pools in particular face a huge hike in running costs as whereas a normal swimming pool is usually no hotter than 28°C, a hydrotherapy pool has a water temperature typically about 33 – 36°C.
With energy bills having increased by 150% compared to last year, and in 2023 are forecast to rise by 185% compared to 2021, it is vital to look into solutions that can help save money and ensure these facilities stay open.
This blog looks at how choosing the right environmental control system can help save you thousands of pounds by providing a sustainable and efficient solution for your hydrotherapy pool energy costs.
Rising Energy Costs
Using evidence gathered from a survey of operators across the public and private sectors, not-for-profit body ukactive say operators with swimming pools and hydrotherapy pools are expecting to see bills increase by up to 150%.
In this survey, it found that nine-in-ten public pool operators plan to reduce their services in the next six months due to rising energy costs.
Nearly two-thirds also admitted they would probably need to cut staff to deal with the energy crisis.
As a result of these predictions, thousands of essential facilities are at risk and consumers are facing rising costs for health and fitness services during the cost-of-living crisis.
So, how can we help reduce the cost of energy and other running costs of hydrotherapy pools?
One way is to select the right environmental control system, ensuring an efficient and sustainable way of heating a hydrotherapy pool.
Hydrotherapy Pools with Innova Care Concepts
Looking to install a hydrotherapy pool into your care environment?
Click here to download our free Creating Care Spaces Brochure to discover our range of hydrotherapy pools and options.
What is an Environmental Control System?
An environmental control system (or air handling system) is used in both hydrotherapy and swimming pools to help regulate the air temperature and the humidity of the room.
Hydrotherapy pools require an environmental control system much more than a standard swimming pool because of the increased temperature of the pool.
With the water being kept warmer, more of it will evaporate and heat up the room, making the room much warmer, but also making it a lot more humid.
Environmental control systems are set to one degree below the temperature of the hydrotherapy pool water as this will help maintain the temperature of the room and the water itself (the ideal relative humidity of the room should be 60-65%).
For multi-user environments such as an SEND and SEN school, or rooms larger than 260m³, you will need a bigger environmental control system, with a heat recovery system as our recommendation.
This is a much more thorough system that will help to keep the whole room at the same pre-set temperature.
How can an environmental control system reduce hydrotherapy pool energy costs?
In order to ensure maximum efficiency for your hydrotherapy pool, we recommend all projects are fitted with the Heatstar Phoenix EC.
Used in all our hydrotherapy pool installations, this environmental control system heats and cools the air and water as well as ensuring humidity levels are controlled.
It uses an efficient heat exchange system that takes heat from the exhaust air, recycling it to heat the pool water and air.
To do this, the Heatstar uses inverter fan technology within the dehumidification process.
An inverter allows you to control the speed of your fan motor to match the actual ventilation needs, rather than run the fan at full power constantly.
By using this technique, it reduces the amount of energy required to heat your hydrotherapy pool, helping save thousands of pounds off your pool hall running cost.
Environmental Control Systems Guide
To learn more about how environmental control systems work, click here to read our blog.
How does it work?
The Heatstar Phoenix EC is a hybrid heat recovery ventilation system for indoor swimming pools and hydrotherapy pools in both residential or non-residential settings.
In order to help retain heat and cut out energy wastage, it focuses on three main areas:
1) Fans used in the units
Firstly, Heatstar use on-demand fan technology with backward curved fans to deliver the most energy efficient fans on the market.
These digital fans utilise “auto-fan” technology whereby the speed and power of the air-recirculation fan is managed automatically, achieving significant energy savings whenever there is low demand for dehumidification or air-heating.
This provides the lowest operating costs of any such system.
2) Optimising heat recovery
Secondly, Heatstar use cross-flow recuperators to optimise heat recovery.
The recuperator passively conducts heat from the exhausted pool room air via a series of adjoining plates directly to the incoming colder fresh air.
During this process, working in tandem with the dehumidification heat pump, produces unrivalled levels of heat recovery.
3) Energy efficient dehumidification.
Lastly, Heatstar utilise energy efficient dehumidification.
The unit’s dehumidification heat pump creates a cold evaporator coil to condense the moisture present in the air to reduce humidity levels.
In this process, the heat pump absorbs both latent and sensible energy which is upgraded and recycled back into both the pool room air and pool water.
Efficiencies of over 380% are possible through this process.
Where has it been used?
As mentioned earlier, Innova Care Concepts use the Heatstar Phoenix EC in all of their hydrotherapy pool installations.
One of our most recent projects has been to deliver a 6m x 4m 316 graded stainless steel hydrotherapy pool for Boston Endeavour Academy.
Fitted with a number of options to aid sensory stimulation including Venturi bubble jets and colour-changing lights, their pool also includes a Heatstar Phoenix EC to ensure the school are able to save money on their hydrotherapy pool energy costs.
Read the full case study by clicking here and watch the video below to see how the system works.
This blog has looked at how choosing the right type of environmental control system can help you save thousands of pounds on your hydrotherapy pool energy costs.
By using a Heatstar Phoenix EC, its inverter fan technology ensures heat is retained and reduces the amount of energy required to heat your hydrotherapy pool, preventing excessive amounts of heat being wasted with a fan running at full power constantly.
We recommend using this system for any hydrotherapy pool installation.
Want to know more about how to install a hydrotherapy pool in your venue? Get in touch with the Innova team today!