Industry and Efficiency Proponents Agree on Big Efficiency Gains for Pool Pumps
Swimming pool owners will see a huge drop in their monthly utility bills thanks to a consensus agreement between industry, efficiency proponents, and other interested parties for the first national energy efficiency standards for pool pumps that was approved July 29 by a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) advisory committee.
With more than 5 million in-ground and 3.5 million above-ground pools in the U.S., the national energy and financial savings from more energy efficient pumps will be significant. Based on DOE’s analysis, the standards will save more than 400 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity over 30 years of sales or the equivalent amount of electricity used annually by 37 million U.S. households, making it one of the biggest energy savings standards completed this year. Most of the savings will come from switching from single speed pumps to variable speed pumps, which can change their speed as needed, speeding up to clean the pool or slowing down and saving energy when filtering the water.
The new standards will cut the energy use for in-ground pool pumps by about 70%, and owners of in-ground pools will save about $2,000 on average over the lifetime of a pool pump. On a national level, consumers will save $13-28 billion with the new standards taking into account pool pumps sold over a 30-year period.
The recent approval of the agreement by DOE’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) marks an important step in the standard-setting process. Next, DOE will write a rule based on the recommended standards and publish it for public comment. The new standards were developed after a yearlong series of negotiations between DOE, pool pump manufacturers, motor manufacturers, efficiency supporters, state government, and utilities.
“The commitment to supporting the adoption of more efficient pumps builds on a 15-year cooperative relationship with the pool industry that has led to innovation and product development,” said Gary Fernstrom, retired employee and advisor to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Codes and Standards Program. “California’s investor-owned utilities are committed to helping customers conserve energy and have played a critical role in the effort to realize the significant energy savings and cost reductions for pool owners.”
Joanna Mauer, Technical Advocacy Manager for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and a member of the working group notes that: “A typical pool pump can use as much as 6,000 kWh of electricity per year – a sizeable amount considering that the average U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kWh per year. The new standards will reduce energy consumption for in-ground pool pumps by about 70% relative to the least efficient pumps available today.”
“The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals participated in these negotiations because of its members’ commitment to enhanced energy efficiency standards that benefit both consumers and the environment,” said APSP Director of Government Relations Jennifer Hatfield. “APSP members worked together with one voice and with all stakeholders to come up with a positive outcome for the swimming pool owner.”
“We are pleased that industry and energy efficiency advocates collaborated to propose a national standard that will lead to the greater use of variable speed pool pumps," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, the California Energy Commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “This technology provides improved service, lowers consumers' utility bills, and avoids greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production. We are proud to be part of this very positive step forward toward greater efficiency."
“This agreement will help achieve President Obama’s emissions reduction goal by reducing carbon pollution emissions by 57 million metric tons by 2030 – that’s equivalent to the emissions from driving 12 million cars for a year,” noted Lauren Urbanek, a senior energy policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And those reductions will continue for years into the future. Once these standards are adopted and working behind the scenes, they’ll save energy, money, and avoid pollution while Americans continue enjoying their backyard pools.”
John Caskey, VP of Operations for NEMA said, “The negotiated rulemaking process is a valuable tool for the US Department of Energy to use to bring stakeholders together to develop well thought-out energy efficiency regulations. From my personal experience on ASRAC, it’s an ideal method for refining product scope and input assumptions to produce the best life cycle cost/benefit analysis possible.”
The standards are scheduled to take effect in 2021.
Marianne DiMascio is the outreach coordinator for the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). She creates awareness of and builds support for appliance efficiency standards on both the federal and state level. She is co-author of The Efficiency Boom: Cashing In on the Savings from Appliance Standards. She joined ASAP in 2008.
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